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Bronco Rob
12-26-2009, 07:14 AM
Broncos' success has been tied to defense's ability to stop the run



By Lindsay H. Jones
The Denver Post
Posted: 12/26/2009 01:00:00 AM MST



Think hard, back to warmer days, back to before the start of the 2009 football season. Remember the expectations for the Broncos' defensive line?

Wayne Nunnely certainly does.

"When I first came here and read some of the stories that (the media) wrote, I was really concerned," said Nunnely, the Broncos' defensive line coach.

Nunnely read that his group of players — such as Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean and Marcus Thomas — was one of the biggest question marks on the team, and that it likely would be the defense's biggest liability.

With the regular season nearly complete, Nunnely can proudly say that the defensive line has generally played far better than anyone else expected.

"I think the guys have come through and done a good job," Nunnely said. "They have met our expectations, or maybe even beyond that. I think they've done a good job of improving over the course of the season."

The Broncos' overall success has been tied to that group's success — as well as the rest of the defense's success — in stopping the run. The defense has not allowed an opposing running back to reach 100 yards in each of the team's eight wins. In fact, in those wins, Denver held its opponents to an average of 78.6 yards rushing per game.

In the five of Denver's six losses, the opponent has rushed for at least 125 yards. The most troublesome result came in last Sunday's 20-19 loss to Oakland when the Raiders — despite having a strictly one-dimensional offense for most of the game — rushed for 241 yards.

"It doesn't take many people to do something wrong for something bad to happen in this league," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.

Broncos defensive players and coaches lamented that it wasn't a complete breakdown of the run defense that did them in against the Raiders. Of Oakland's gaudy total, 173 of those yards came on eight runs, including a 23-yard second-quarter touchdown and back-to-back-to-back carries of 18, 40 and 28 yards in the third quarter.

On the rest of Oakland's 26 carries, the Raiders averaged only 2.6 yards.

It won't get any easier Sunday at Philadelphia. The Eagles have scored three touchdowns this year off big running plays of 67, 66 and 41 yards. Rookie running back LeSean McCoy is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and has 606 yards rushing, and Brian Westbrook, who is expected to play Sunday after missing most of the last two months because of a concussion, was averaging 4.8 yards per carry before he was injured.

"We know what we did wrong, and we've got to correct it," Broncos linebacker Andra Davis said. "We're going to correct it. We just can't have any letdowns. We've got to be solid across the board."

McDaniels likes to preach that in order for the Broncos' running game to be effective, it takes more than strong play from the running backs. The team applies the same philosophy to defense, that even one player — from the nose tackle to an outside linebacker to a safety — out of alignment can lead to the types of mistakes that were so costly against Oakland.

"Anytime you have poor run defense or have great run defense, it takes all 11 players," Nunnely said. "That's the thing about run defense, is that all 11 guys, the linebackers, the secondary, everybody's got to work together with the D-line to stop the run."










http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_14071592#ixzz0anv1hnKr

lex
12-26-2009, 08:17 AM
"When I first came here and read some of the stories that (the media) wrote, I was really concerned," said Nunnely, the Broncos' defensive line coach.

Nunnely read that his group of players such as Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean and Marcus Thomas was one of the biggest question marks on the team, and that it likely would be the defense's biggest liability.

With the regular season nearly complete, Nunnely can proudly say that the defensive line has generally played far better than anyone else expected.



This is very true. Nunnely deserves major kudos.

BTW, it seems kind of weird that he's admitting that he was in some way affected by what had been written of his unit in the media.

Tombstone RJ
12-26-2009, 08:24 AM
Flip side is that when the Broncos offense can't run the ball, the Broncos lose. The Broncos winning and losing is tied to stopping the run on defense and running the ball on offense.

nickademus
12-26-2009, 09:03 AM
while I agree that Nunnely has done a great job we are still weak in the front 7. seriously if I could trade williams draft spikes and mcclain I would do it. a real NT would help but so would an upgrade @ DE. Doom has been great as a pass rusher but he seems to be proving that is all he does, and while I wont give up on him in his first season at OLB I am concerned. IMHO if we can get Mcclain and a DT in t he draft and a DE in free agency it will make a huge difference. at some point Champ is gonna have to go I love the guy but he is no longer worth his team high salary.

WolfpackGuy
12-26-2009, 10:36 AM
Outside of last week, the rush defense has been getting whored in second halves of games because the offense has sucked so bad leaving the defense to be totally exhausted.

See Ravens, Steelers, and Skins losses.

But yeah, the DL has exceeded expectations with the current talent.

MileHighMagic
12-26-2009, 11:09 AM
Flip side is that when the Broncos offense can't run the ball, the Broncos lose. The Broncos winning and losing is tied to stopping the run on defense and running the ball on offense.

So very true!

ZONA
12-26-2009, 01:40 PM
Generally I would say the defense has been more then solid this year. It seems every time we lose it's the offense just sputtering out there, not doing jack. Even in some of our wins the offense wasn't special at all and it took a brilliant defensive performance to win the game.

peacepipe
12-26-2009, 02:54 PM
while I agree that Nunnely has done a great job we are still weak in the front 7. seriously if I could trade williams draft spikes and mcclain I would do it. a real NT would help but so would an upgrade @ DE. Doom has been great as a pass rusher but he seems to be proving that is all he does, and while I wont give up on him in his first season at OLB I am concerned. IMHO if we can get Mcclain and a DT in t he draft and a DE in free agency it will make a huge difference. at some point Champ is gonna have to go I love the guy but he is no longer worth his team high salary.A dominating DE like a richard seymoure for example is what we need, which why I pray we can find a way to get Suh. Dumervil is doing just fine. Pass rush in a 3-4 comes from the OLBs so he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing.

2KBack
12-26-2009, 03:08 PM
Outside of last week, the rush defense has been getting whored in second halves of games because the offense has sucked so bad leaving the defense to be totally exhausted.

See Ravens, Steelers, and Skins losses.

But yeah, the DL has exceeded expectations with the current talent.

The rush D was suspect the whole washington game, it's just that they were too inept to capitilize in the first half. It was definitly worse after The offense ran into a Simms wall.