Circumstances around Domonique Foxworth in the Broncos secondary have buffeted his path and his development through two years with the Broncos.
Injuries to cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Darrent Williams first thrust him into the starting lineup in 2005; another injury to Williams placed him there for the regular season’s final month and into the postseason. A year later, Foxworth didn’t start until injuries robbed the Broncos of two of their top three safeties; Foxworth filled in for four of the final five games of the month, with former college teammate Curome Cox handling the duties when Foxworth moved back to cornerback when Williams was injured in Week 15.
The first day of the offseason, of course, brought tragedy to the Broncos with Williams’ death. A month later, Head Coach Mike Shanahan dropped the task of replacing Williams at right cornerback into Foxworth’s lap.
“Domonique Foxworth will be our starting right corner,” Shanahan said, “and Karl Paymah has some experience at that position. You never have enough depth at the cornerback position.”
But last year, Foxworth had to be more than just depth at cornerback at the nickel slot, as the Broncos called on the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder to play safety — placing him among the smallest players at the position in recent league history.
“I definitely think it’s a compliment for them to put me in this position,” Foxworth said at the time, and indeed, he would reply with some of the finest work of his brief career, logging 37 total tackles — over seven per game — after moving to safety on Dec. 3.
So thorough was his commitment that he drained himself of all possible energy during the win over Cincinnati, hyperventilating in the locker room in the moments following the win. But it was understandable after a day in which the former University of Maryland standout seemed to be as ubiquitous as the falling snow; he amassed 14 tackles that afternoon and forced a fumble from from Cincinnati’s Chad Johnson, setting up a Champ Bailey recovery and a subsequent Jay Cutler touchdown pass.
Not bad. But not enough to compel Foxworth to consider a permanent position change.
“I’m a cornerback,” he said. “I’m a full-time corner (and a) part-time safety.”
FINAL ANALYSIS: Ranked ninth on the team with 58 total tackles abd added another six stops on special teams … Did not miss a snap in either of the final two games … Broke up 12 passes, placing him third on the team behind Bailey and Williams.
NEXT: Linebacker Ian Gold.