base D = nickel?
If it's a given that the NFL is a passing league, IMO it makes sense that your base D should be a nickel. Most teams have forgone fullbacks these days, instead running with 3 WR's or 2 TE's. Defenses should match personnel groupings, and that's what they usually do. I'd bet that most teams play nickel more than base.
In this paradigm, there should be 6 starting box players configured in either a 4-2 or a 3-3. Based on what Denver has been doing in free-agency and the draft, I'm thinking we will be spending lots of time in a 4-2...especially if the offense gets 1st half leads like we all think they will.
So, here's how I'm seeing it:
DL: Phillips (strong side DE), Ayers(?) (DT), Sly Williams (DT) Wolfe (weakside DE)
LB: Von at SAM and WW at WILL
This grouping would be ok vs the run for a nickel, but my god, the pass rush could be fantastic.
if you wanted to change things up, you rotate WW over to MIKE and play Phillips at WILL. Phillips can play coverage too, although that may not be his strong suit these days.
Regardless, the point is that just like FB has been de-emphasized in the modern NFL, I'm proposing FOX/Del Rio are de-emphasizing the role of the MIKE, in favor of extra secondary help. This explains why we picked up DRC and then spent a 3rd rounder on a CB, when we were returning all key players from last year, while at the same time we paid very little attention to the MLB role.
Does this all make sense?