|05-19-2010, 04:08 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Broncos' Dawkins trying to shake last season's collapse
As much as everyone who works at Dove Valley — and all of you Broncos fans, too — would like to forget it, no one has been able to shake the bad memories of the end of the 2009 season.
The 2-8 finish in the final 10 games still stings, as does the dreadful defensive performance in the final game of the year: a 44-24 home loss to Kansas City.
"The whole stretch hurt, and that will be in my memory bank the way that felt the last part of the year. You don't want that feeling ever," safety Brian Dawkins said today. "To have to feel that, that was really my first time going through something like that, and you don't want to feel that again."
The late season collapse, especially in the run defense, spurred many of the Broncos' offseason moves.
The team parted ways with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and promoted linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale, replaced the entire starting defensive line through free agency and made a couple changes to its linebackers corps.
Dawkins, a team captain in 2009 and the unquestioned defensive leader, said he approves of all of the changes.
"Obviously, there are going to be some things that remain the same, but Wink has his own ideas and how he wants to attack and do things," Dawkins said. "Let's just say I like them."
Dawkins met with reporters for about 15 minutes at Dove Valley in his first extended comments since the end of last season.
He said he was "surprised" when the team drafted Tim Tebow, but said he has met and liked the team's rookie quarterback. Both Dawkins and Tebow are devout Christians who are unabashed in sharing their faith.
"He's a very personable guy, he's a very, very, very positive guy - he looks for the positives in everything, which I think is a very good attribute, and he's a hard worker," Dawkins said. "He still has a lot to learn, but he'll learn those things and at some point he'll be able to add to what we do."
Dawkins said he was also happy to see quarterback Kyle Orton and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil participating in the organized team activities with the rest of the team. Both Orton and Dumervil were restricted free agents and could have bailed on the offseason program. Orton has been with team since late March. Dumervil arrived this week.
"He could have easily said, 'I don't want to be here, I don't want to be in all that mess, I'm going to sit it out,' but he didn't do those things," Dawkins said of Orton. "He was here, he's been in the conditioning program with all the guys, and to me that speaks a whole lot about his personality."
Lindsay H. Jones: 303-954-1262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|05-19-2010, 04:15 PM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Brian Dawkins on Brian Westbrook: "He’s just one of those guys that can do so many different things for a team, for an offensethat if that did happen, it would add a whole lot to this team."
|05-19-2010, 04:17 PM||#5|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: East Coast
Instead of making another thread on it..From denverbroncos.com:
By Gray Caldwell
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When Brian Dawkins signed as a free agent before the 2009 season, he felt the Broncos "had a chance" at a championship.
He preached to his teammates that if they couldn't earn the respect of the country, they would have to take it, and the club jumped out to a 6-0 record.
But Denver lost eight of its next 10 games to miss the playoffs.
"We started off doing what I thought we could do and then we fell off," Dawkins said Wednesday. "It's up to us to do what I feel like we can do as a team, as a unit, every unit playing for one another and not allow that skid to happen."
The team is working hard in OTAs to ensure the skid doesn't repeat itself, but those preventative measures began earlier in the offseason when the team added more than 900 pounds along the defensive line in Justin Bannan, Jarvis Green and Jamal Williams.
Bannan's Baltimore Ravens gave the Broncos their first loss in 2009, and though he wasn't part of the ensuing losing streak, he is one of the players intent on making sure it doesn't happen again.
"You don't want to live in the past, but every once and a while you need to touch on it," Bannan said. "People need to be reminded of what happened. Basically, you need to address the problem and fix it. I think we've definitely done that, and now it's time to live in the present and move on and go from there."
Dawkins, for one, doesn't need to be reminded.
"That whole stretch hurt," he said. "That will be in my memory banks, I don't know if other guys will do that, but that will be in my memory banks, the way that thing felt the last part of the year. You don't want that. You don't want that feeling, ever. That was really my first time going through something like that, and I don't want that feeling again."
Part of the solution -- Bannan, Green and Williams -- have a combined 28 years of NFL experience under their belts.
Between them they have accumulated to 991 tackles, 46.5 sacks, 29 passes defensed, 15 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, two interceptions, three Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl wins.
And with that experience -- 382 regular-season games worth -- comes an attitude. A "dog mentality," as Dawkins puts it.
"When I talk to them, you can hear the excitement in their voice," the safety said. "Then I've been privy to see them play on the football field, and you can tell that they play with that attitude. That if the run gets past them, they get an attitude with that, because they feel like they need to make those plays up front. That's what you want as a defense."
Mario Haggan, for one, can't wait to see what the "beef" up front can provide for the team as a whole.
"On paper, I put us in the Super Bowl," the linebacker gushed. "With those guys, Jamal has been proven, Jarvis has played with a bunch of good teams in New England and Justin has played with a great Baltimore defense, a defense that many people pattern themselves after in the NFL. So just looking at their history, I think we're in pretty good shape. But once again, you have to play through the season. I think if we can be healthy, I think we definitely have a chance to improve."
THRIVING UNDER THE RADAR
Dawkins feels the team has taken the proper steps to set the team up for success this season, and it's up to the players to follow through.
Cutting down on mental mistakes, not folding under pressure and making the tackle when the ball-carrier gets to you -- "That's the last place he gets," -- are keys in 2010 according to the defensive captain.
He "loved" the moves the team made in free agency and is excited about the competition that the nine talented 2010 draft picks will add to the fray.
"Competition is a great thing," Dawkins said. "I know it is for me. When I have safeties behind me that I know are pushing me, guess what that does for me -- that makes me up my game, up my thought process. I always go into every camp saying that I need to beat out the guy who's behind me anyway, but when you have someone that you know that can push you, you up your game that much more."
After meeting his new teammates just a few days ago, Dawkins already has a confidence that the team can thrive this season -- even while plenty outside of the locker room continue to doubt what the Broncos can do.
"I feel like being under the radar is a great thing," he said. "For people to count you out and talk about what you're not going to do is a great thing. It's a great thing. I've reveled in that many, many times. Continue to tell us what we're not going to be able to do and how this is not where it needs to be -- we'll take that. But don't expect that product that you're thinking you'll see on the field to be on the field."
Free agent running back Brian Westbrook has visited several team this offseason, one of which is Denver.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels said last week that Westbrook and the team "had a great meeting," and that although Westbrook is in no hurry to sign with a club, Denver is "not opposed" to adding another talented player to the backfield.
"I think he fits in with the mold of our backs -- they’re not one-dimensional, and he certainly isn’t either," McDaniels said. "If we have an opportunity to add him, we just think we would make our football team better."
Dawkins, having played alongside Westbrook for eight seasons in Philadelphia, sounded excited about the potential to add a back who has amassed 5,995 yards on the ground and 3,790 yards through the air in his career.
"He's just one of those dynamic guys that at any given second, he's going to be the reason that you win the football game because of his playmaking ability," Dawkins said. "He's just one of those guys that can do so many different things for a team, for an offense, that if that did happen, it would add a whole lot to this team."
So has Dawkins spent any time trying to recruit the former Eagle to Denver?
"I've talked to him," he smiled. "We've talked."
Bannan said former Bronco Trevor Pryce, his teammate in Baltimore last season, predicted the defensive lineman would end up in Denver in 2010. "He called it, so I've got to give him his props on that one," Bannan laughed.
Guard Matt McChesney, who was signed by the Broncos in 2009 before being placed on injured reserve and released/injured before the season began, was placed on the reserve/retired list on Wednesday. The former CU Buff had signed a future contract with the team in January.
D.J. Williams and Jamal Williams were participating in drills with their teammates on Wednesday.
|05-19-2010, 05:46 PM||#8|
Attack at all times . . .
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AFC Championshipville, NotTooShabby County
Denver needed to improve the D. I hope one of the young safeties can be another Dawkins. McBath might be able to do it.
|05-19-2010, 06:07 PM||#9|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2006
I think adding Westbrook would give us some nice options at the RB position..i wouldn't be opposed to signing him at all!! Westbrook, Buck and Dawk reunited!!