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Old 06-23-2009, 07:24 AM   #1
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Default AFC WEST Impact Players--#56 Robert Ayers

Denver: DE/OLB Robert Ayers


Robert Ayers
Tough to expect a rookie to make a major impact in his fist season as a pro, but the Broncos drafted Ayers for that exact reason — because their pass rush is a huge concern going into the ’09 season.

Denver gave up 28 points per game in 2008 to rank 30th in the league, and if its pass rush doesn’t improve, expect that number to stay the same — because this defense holds the key to the Broncos’ success. I’m not concerned about QB Kyle Orton’s ability to run Josh McDaniels’ spread offensive attack, but I am concerned that Orton will have to outscore teams to put wins on the board.

Ayers can develop into a classic OLB in the 3-4 system, and although he had mixed reviews coming out of Tennessee, that’s all behind him, and he should step into a starting role at the NFL level. Denver got to the quarterback just 26 times in 2008, but I like the idea of two young pass rushers off the edge in the 3-4 scheme with Ayers and Elivs Dumervil — which should help Champ Bailey return to form as one of the top corners in the league. A pass rush adds to the production of an entire defense, and the Broncos have to find ways to get to the quarterback if they want to compete with the rest of the AFC West. Lots of pressure on the rookie to perform in ’09.

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/...-AFC-West.html
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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Default NFP- Michael Lobardi--Broncos D Back to Basics

Monday, my colleague at the Post and lover of the Houston Texans, Matt Bowen, went over potential impact players in the AFC West. I loved some of the names on his list, especially Robert Ayers of Denver, who, if the Broncos are going to get any pass rush, is going to have to have an impact. But I see mathematics as the most important part of any player making an impact (more about that later).

Can one player have an impact on a defense that was as bad as the Broncos were last year? That’s a fair question. Certainly, Ayers is expected to provide an upgrade, but the Broncos need to get back to basics. They must get good on defense in one area -- the red zone -- before their defense can be impactful.


When you look at the great turnarounds in recent years, the Dolphins of 2008 provide a tremendous blueprint for the Broncos to follow. The Dolphins realized they were not going to become good on defense in just one game, or in one month. It was an evolving process that started with their ability to practice. Yes, Allen Iverson, I said practice. The Dolphins improved on defense last year because they practiced their fundamentals and their techniques, and as the year went along, they improved.

Training camp is a really a mathematical problem for coaches. There are certain amounts of predetermined practices in which fans can come out to watch their favorite teams. In those practices, there are a defined number of plays -- or repetitions as coaches call them. Practice repetitions are directly tied to the time allowed for each period. So there might be a two-hour practice, 120 minutes, but in that time, there are 60 repetitions in all phases of the game. For example, if a team is working on its inside run drill, it might want to get 12 plays/repetitions in that period. In camp, there are normally three groups of players -- three teams of offensive and defensive players -- so some players might only get two repetitions. Before the assistant coaches leave for vacation, they must know how many repetitions each player will be able to get before the first game, in all phases of the game. Clearly, the more reps, the better chance a player has to either improve or, in some cases, fail to meet the challenge.

When injuries become a part of the above equation, the amount of repetitions is reduced, resulting in limited progress for the player and the team. This is why Miami was able to keep improving last season. Its mathematical numbers worked. The players who needed repetitions were healthy enough to get their reps, which allowed them to improve. As practice starts, you’ll read about players discussing the limited repetitions they’ve received in practice, thus limiting their chances to learn the scheme and improve in the scheme. This is why, as a personnel director, you must know how many reps each player receives -- and at times urge the coaches to give a certain player more. Or urge them to give less.

The challenge for head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is not to improve the overall defense but to become proficient in one area -- the red zone. They need to overload their team with every situation it will see in the red area, making them “game ready” as soon as possible. The ability to hold teams to field goals will a determining factor in their success this year on defense. The Broncos will have to come to grips with two facts before the season starts: One, teams will successfully move the ball on them, and two, teams will be able to exploit their weaknesses once the season starts.


AP
Head coach Josh McDaniels
Let us touch on the second factor first. The Broncos, I’m sure, are currently optimistic about their defense; they’ve been able to work on certain areas within their scheme against one common opponent. Once the season starts, the new scheme and new designs can mask any problems the defense has for the first month. When October rolls around, the scheme, the talent and the weaknesses will come to the forefront, allowing teams to attack them with vigor. How will the Broncos handle this? I hope the same way the Dolphins did last year, by relying on good techniques, good fundamentals and the best red-zone defense in the NFL.

Teams will move the ball on the Broncos because they’re a work in progress on defense. They have too many new parts, new schemes and new players. Their challenge will be to remain disciplined, keep the scheme simple, keep working on the same fundamentals and principles and, most important, run what they practiced all summer. Too often, teams (many I’ve been with) practice one kind of scheme all summer, then change it once the season starts, losing all the repetitions and losing the mathematics game. Trust me, this didn’t happen in Miami.

Ayers alone can’t make an impact, but he can make one if his mathematics grade is passing -- along with many of his teammates.

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/...to-basics.html
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:30 AM   #3
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Lots of pressure on the rookie to perform in ’09.
I hate it when people say this. What rookie doesn't have pressure on him? Name one player in the NFL that doesn't have pressure on him. Outside of maybe Champ and Peyton Manning.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:36 AM   #4
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I have high hopes for Ayers, especially after the "last defensive player to leave the field" work ethic and Mayock saying in five years he will be the best defensive player in the draft. Also, I picked him in the same exact slot (except I was picking with the Bears) in the OM Mock Draft, so I hope he proves me right even more.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:04 AM   #5
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
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Great article. Very true in that practice and reps along with a consistent defensive philosphy will provide tangible results. Hopefully, this is true for the Broncos.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:40 AM   #7
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Interesting article. Certainly sheds some light on why our panicky mid-season moves on defense every year never amounted to anything. Hopefully Nolan implements a scheme, keeps it simple, and sticks to it throughout. I suspect he will.

That math on the number of reps a player might get during OTAs and camp was also interesting. Imagine only getting 2-3 reps of a specific play/situation. It's no wonder some players fall behind so quickly. It also makes me wonder just how ineffective Marshall will be if he misses some or all of camp. There's no way that he's bright enough to grasp a new offensive scheme without really buckling down for all of camp. I suspect he's already dangerously far behind.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:44 PM   #8
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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Man we gotta be careful ... Jarvis was chosed one spot higher.

I'm excited I guess, but I don't wanna get my hopes too high ... he's just a rookie, a one-year wondre rookie at that, and he's moving to a new position. That's not an optimism-inducing package.

I'm gonna look to 2010 for Ayers ... if he does well now, it'll be a pleasaent surprise.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:14 AM   #10
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What position would everyone like to see Ayers permanently? Answer should be DE or OLB, but not both. Why?
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:31 AM   #11
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I see him as our Shawn Merriman for the 3-4 which would be OLB. He is going to be mainly a pass rusher, who occasionally drops back into the zone.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:35 AM   #12
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Man we gotta be careful ... Jarvis was chosed one spot higher.

I'm excited I guess, but I don't wanna get my hopes too high ... he's just a rookie, a one-year wondre rookie at that, and he's moving to a new position. That's not an optimism-inducing package.

I'm gonna look to 2010 for Ayers ... if he does well now, it'll be a pleasaent surprise.
Drinking again Buff?
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:22 AM   #13
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What position would everyone like to see Ayers permanently? Answer should be DE or OLB, but not both. Why?
I would LIKE to see him at OLB in the 3-4 permanently IF we had linemen capable of occupying O-linemen on a regular basis. He is an impact type player, and in the 3-4 linemen are not your stars, they ALLOW your stars to shine. Unfortunately I don't think any of the linemen we have currently are able to consistantly engage and negate o-linemen even in 1 on 1 situations, let alone regularly requiring a double team, which is what you want your NT to do. Until we get a monster NT (or one emerges from the group we have), I think having him at DE is a neccesity.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:33 AM   #14
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I would LIKE to see him at OLB in the 3-4 permanently IF we had linemen capable of occupying O-linemen on a regular basis. He is an impact type player, and in the 3-4 linemen are not your stars, they ALLOW your stars to shine. Unfortunately I don't think any of the linemen we have currently are able to consistantly engage and negate o-linemen even in 1 on 1 situations, let alone regularly requiring a double team, which is what you want your NT to do. Until we get a monster NT (or one emerges from the group we have), I think having him at DE is a neccesity.
I see him as a better prospect at DE than LB. He's not a speed guy, but he can probably put on 20 lbs without losing much. Most of the scouting reports mention that he is stout at the point of attack and does an excellent job using his power to penetrate inside.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:51 AM   #15
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I see him as a better prospect at DE than LB. He's not a speed guy, but he can probably put on 20 lbs without losing much. Most of the scouting reports mention that he is stout at the point of attack and does an excellent job using his power to penetrate inside.
Fair enough. Most reports I have seen said he projects well at OLB in the 3-4, and that's what I have based my thought process off. Also I thought OLB in the 3-4 doesn't need to be extremely fast, and the idea of him using using that power against a TE is pleasant. I think in the long term it would be a better fit for him, but am very happy that the coaches are trying him at DE at least for this season. Looks like we will get to see a bit of both versions in TC and pre-season, should make for some interesting debates.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:57 AM   #16
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I have high hopes for Ayers, especially after the "last defensive player to leave the field" work ethic and Mayock saying in five years he will be the best defensive player in the draft. Also, I picked him in the same exact slot (except I was picking with the Bears) in the OM Mock Draft, so I hope he proves me right even more.
Really? I got him at pick #34 in the other OM draft


That article is a little off: "the Broncos drafted Ayers for that exact reason — because their pass rush is a huge concern."

Put simply, Ayers is just not a sack guy, period. He had just just 3 sacks his senior year, and two of those were against Vanderbilt. And now he's changing positions, too. It's great to be optimistic, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here ... Jarvis Moss was a significantly better sack artist in college.

Calling Ayers and "Impact Player" is just not realistic.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:03 AM   #17
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I see him as a better prospect at DE than LB. He's not a speed guy, but he can probably put on 20 lbs without losing much.
Totally agree ... 100%. Remember on draft day, McD said Ayers "plays bigger than his size."

By the end of this season or the start of 2010, I predict Ayers, Marcus Thomas and Kenny Peterson will be our 3-4 DEs, with Ron Fields, Carlton Powell and Chris Baker in the middle. I'm also predicting our current "starter" Ryan McBean has just a 50/50 chance to make the active roster this season, remember he was out of football all last year.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:09 AM   #18
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I think Ayers will stay at OLB
He isnt a huge sack guy, but he gets pressure

He is versatile, which is why his current weight allows him to play mutliple positions
At 275 he can play either OLB spot in a 3-4
He can play end and even tackle in certain situations in a 4-3, and even end in a 3-4 considering he plays bigger than his size indicates
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:13 AM   #19
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I think Ayers will stay at OLB
He isnt a huge sack guy, but he gets pressure

He is versatile, which is why his current weight allows him to play mutliple positions
At 275 he can play either OLB spot in a 3-4
He can play end and even tackle in certain situations in a 4-3, and even end in a 3-4 considering he plays bigger than his size indicates
I guess that's my concern. He only had 8 sacks during his entire college career. The OLB in the 3-4 are supposed to be the guys that bring the heat on the QB. Right?
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:55 AM   #20
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I guess that's my concern. He only had 8 sacks during his entire college career.
That's right, and just 3 sacks his senior season, 2 of which were against Vanderbilt.


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The OLB in the 3-4 are supposed to be the guys that bring the heat on the QB. Right?
He playing mostly SOLB, which is less a sack position generally ... but we should remember that ANY linebacker spot is a brand new position for him, and a brand new position for a rookie is not easy.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:12 PM   #21
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That's right, and just 3 sacks his senior season, 2 of which were against Vanderbilt.


He playing mostly SOLB, which is less a sack position generally ... but we should remember that ANY linebacker spot is a brand new position for him, and a brand new position for a rookie is not easy.
Wherever they finally line him up, I just want pressure. Sacks would be nice too.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #22
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I guess that's my concern. He only had 8 sacks during his entire college career. The OLB in the 3-4 are supposed to be the guys that bring the heat on the QB. Right?
Would you agree that Willie McGinest has had a good career?
4.5,11,9.5,2,3.5,9,6,6,5.5,5.5,9.5,6,4,3,1

These are his season sack totals for his career.
Some good stuff in there, but nothing mind blowing.
This is kind of what I am expecting from Ayers(not necessarily a career as good as Willie, but a similar role to which he played)

I dont think Ayers will be that guy who challenges for the sack title, I dont see him as an elite pass rusher.

However, he did have 15.5 tackles for loss his senior year, not quite as flashy as guys who get lots of sacks, but IMO just as productive as a sack.

Mayock also said at the senior bowl he was "unblockable", so its not like he cant ever get to the qb

The Pats use a lot of confusion to get sacks, and if that is the direction we will be transitioning to, then we wouldnt need guys we with elite pass rushing ability to still get to the qb and disrupt plays
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:44 PM   #23
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:46 PM   #24
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Really? I got him at pick #34 in the other OM draft


That article is a little off: "the Broncos drafted Ayers for that exact reason — because their pass rush is a huge concern."

Put simply, Ayers is just not a sack guy, period. He had just just 3 sacks his senior year, and two of those were against Vanderbilt. And now he's changing positions, too. It's great to be optimistic, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here ... Jarvis Moss was a significantly better sack artist in college.

Calling Ayers and "Impact Player" is just not realistic.
Actaully I am forgetting, I did get him in the 2nd roun at pick 47 or something. (not to one up you) I got Mark Sanchez (pre-Cutler) with the Bears first pick, and then stole Ayers in the 2nd...I think you will be surprised to see Ayers make an impact first year.
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:04 PM   #25
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maybe it's just my sentiment here, but I personally hope that Ayers works out at SOLB so Elvis can shine.

If Ayers becomes a presence at all (and is good against the run), then it could Free up Elvis for a major year at WOLB. WOLB is where the sacks usually come from in a 3-4 defense. Whomever wins that spot in TC will be our "guy to watch."

Ayers has time to develop. I won't be surprised at all to see Darrell Reid as our starter for game 1 at SOLB.
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