Two interceptions. Seven passes defensed. Six tackles for a loss. Three sacks.
The Broncos defense used all of those plays to keep the team in position for its come-from-behind, 12-7 victory over the Bengals in last Sunday’s opener.
While the players made the plays on the field, captain Brian Dawkins believes the secret to their success came from a proven leader upstairs in the coaches booth: defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
“It’s an attitude, so to speak, that he wants us to play with,” Dawkins said. “We have the guys that are capable of doing that if we know our jobs. If we are not thinking on the field, then we have the talent, the aggressiveness, to get the job done.”
With several playoff appearances to his own credit, Dawkins said much of that confidence comes from Nolan’s wealth of experience coaching top-flight teams.
“He is just someone who has had so much success in the past,” Dawkins said. “When you have that, guys are going to buy into it faster, I believe.”
BARRETT BACK AT PRACTICE
Josh Barrett returned to the practice field on Wednesday at Dove Valley. After missing the Bengals game with a shoulder injury, the safety was in his normal blue threads as a limited participant.
STACKING UP WITH THE REST
With kickoff weekend coming to a close, the NFL released a breakdown on Wednesday of heights, weights and ages on all 32 rosters. How did Denver stack up?
The Broncos have more players under 200 pounds than any other team in the AFC West. The Raiders and Chiefs each have eight on their rosters, while the Chargers have an AFC conference-low six cruiserweights. Only the Bears (12), Bengals (13) and Eagles (14) have more sub-200-pound faces on their rosters.
Denver sports the oldest AFC West roster by a hair, with an average age of 26.72 years. The Chargers came in a close second at 26.58 years, followed by the Raiders at 26.47 years. The Chiefs tied with the Colts for the youngest roster in the AFC at 25.89 years. The oldest team in the AFC was the New England Patriots at 27.19 years, while the Redskins have the oldest roster in the NFL at 27.60 years.
As for beef up front, the Broncos have 11 players who sport size of over 300 pounds. That tied them for sixth place in the AFC, with seven other teams. The NFC East proved to be the bulkiest division, with the Cowboys (16) and Giants (15) finishing first and second in the league.
Here are some more photos from the session:
–Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com