To Head Coach Josh McDaniels, the best cornerbacks in the game are ones who can juggle two simultaneous tasks.
In his mind, becoming a great interceptor requires spotting when the quarterback releases the ball, while following the covered receiver on his route progression.
One of the players who most helped McDaniels recognize that skill is his current corner — Champ Bailey.
“If you can’t see the quarterback, sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you are covering because you don’t know when the ball is coming,” McDaniels said. “But he has that ability to do both. I have a great appreciation for it now that I am here.”
For the fourth time in Bailey’s six seasons with the Broncos, his team enters week 10 with six wins to its credit. After consecutive losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh, Bailey has taken away one of McDaniels’ key points to get back on a winning track.
“Just doing your job,” Bailey said. “Plain and simple. It’s just as simple as that. You just get out there and do what you’re supposed to do and things will work out.”
This season, Bailey said his job has involved more press coverage than in recent years. The Broncos secondary has already squared off against the likes of Chad Ochocinco, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes, and Hines Ward.
The task gets no easier this weekend in Washington, with Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El next on Denver’s radar.
McDaniels said facing talented receivers of that nature prompts a defense to be more disruptive at the line of scrimmage. As for Bailey’s role in that disruption, he said the 11-year veteran has the ability to do whatever a coach asks of him.
“He’s always been a dependable player,” McDaniels said. “He’s always been a guy that’s accepted whatever challenge that you may give him each week. I think the more of those guys you have, the better chance you’ve got to win.”
There were no changes to the Broncos’ Week 10 Injury Report on Friday. On the Redskins’ side, after not participating in either Wednesday or Thursday’s practice, RB Ladell Betts (ankle) was a limited participant on Friday. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at FedEx Field.
A non-participant in Thursday’s session, P Hunter Smith (right groin) was a limited participant on Friday. He is also listed as questionable.
Here are some photos from the start of Friday’s practice.
– Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com