|10-06-2006, 02:32 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Ian Gold article
Nice article. If a lot of the criticism about Gold is true we'll find out against the Ravens. They are a big physical running team with a big physical RB. The critics of Gold have often said that these are the games he gets overpowered in.
So I think this game will be a tough challenge for all of Denver's LBers.
Here is to having Jamal Anderson getting 25 carries for 73 yards!!!
Gold's play in mint condition
Broncos linebacker focused, and effort is speaking for itself
SoCals link: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...046780,00.html
By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
October 6, 2006
ENGLEWOOD - Right about here, there would be something from Ian.
Yes, ordinarily, just after that period would be something from Broncos linebacker Ian Gold about the carnage he already has caused to opposing offenses this season.
Something about how Gold leads the Broncos in tackles after three games with 30 and about how several league personnel executives polled this week said he was playing the best football of his seven-year career.
"My goal is to simply maintain my focus," Gold said with a smile, deferring to well into the second half of the season before offering more. "I just feel this is not the time to be talking about this."
Now, Gold might want to wait and see how it all goes. But others are willing to jump to the front of the line to talk about what he has done thus far.
"I think he's playing at the top of his game right now," Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said. "I'm not sure I have seen him play the way he's playing right now, and I've played a lot of games with him.
"I think we're all hoping he just keeps it up because it's great to see, man."
It is, without question, what Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wanted to see when he made Gold a red- alert priority in free agency in 2005. And last season, Gold led the Broncos with 106 tackles.
It was the first time in Gold's professional career he had led a team in tackles. The closest he came before that was in 2002, during his first stint with the Broncos, when he finished second with 166. Wilson led the team that season with 199.
But 2005, even with all that production, might have been about transition in some ways, while 2006 is shaping up to be a little more for Gold.
"It's a comfort zone," Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "He's playing very fast, very hard. You can count on him big time. He just goes after you, he gets after it all the time. He digs, scratches, he takes pride in what he does, a worker. No matter what illusion people may have, he is a great competitor with great pride.
"Just a bullet-fast guy who is smart, takes care of himself and works at it."
And Gold, who consistently has said, "I don't smoke, drink or stay out late," has maintained his top-level speed through six NFL seasons despite having undergone surgery in 2003 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
He played in six games that season for the Broncos, then left to sign with Tampa Bay in free agency. But the Buccaneers already had perennial Pro Bowl selection and 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Derrick Brooks at weak-side linebacker (the side away from the tight end), so Gold spent much of that year miscast in the Buccaneers defense.
Which is why, when a return to the Broncos became a possibility before the 2005 season, the Broncos were ready for Gold, having tried to play a season without him, and he was ready to be back in Denver, where he signed a six-year, $25 million deal.
"And now, this year, he's much more comfortable in the defense," Coyer said. "I love the kid. I've known him for a long time now. High character, high class, great guy, great worker, and he just had to get back comfortable in what we're doing. It's hard to go back and forth like he did.
"But he's playing the game the way it ought to be played. That's all you can ask of a man. I'm really proud of the way he goes about it."
Coyer and Shanahan said they believed it was important, in the wake of their loss against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game in January, to go back to basics on defense. Their belief is the Broncos would improve in the two areas of preseason concern - red-zone defense and third-down defense - if they became a more sound team in their base 4-3 defense.
They would blitz less and play it straight more.
During the first three games this season, that has meant the Broncos are the only team in the league to have surrendered one touchdown, and personnel executives who have looked for themselves say it has been fueled by the team's linebackers, including Gold.
"That's an impressive group of athletes, especially the way they run to the ball," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They have excellent team speed."
Wilson said a little something else also might be at work with Gold. That after starting his career with the Broncos as a special-teams player - he was good enough at it to be named to the Pro Bowl after his rookie season in 2000 - and facing frustrations playing for Tampa Bay, Gold is now just starting to see what he can be on the field.
"I think he understands that he can be one of the dominant players in the business," Wilson said. "And now, it's starting to sink in. I think when we first come into the league, we all have question marks in the back of our minds. Even though we may all exude confidence, we all have those question marks at first because this is the NFL, this is the best of the best.
"But once you get in the league and you show that you can hang with it, it's easier to deal with. But when you first get here, it's tough because these are grown men and they play extremely hard. Guys are smart, guys are stronger and it just makes it harder to be an excellent player.
"So when you have the opportunity to become good, or even great, you really have an opportunity to stand out. That's where (Gold) is at right now."
|10-06-2006, 02:41 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hot Springs, Ouachitah
Even Slappy has moderated.
That doesn't mean Gold can't slip. He's just playing extremely well.