The Broncos’ edge rush — featuring 2011 Rookie of the Year Von Miller and two-time Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil — speaks for itself.
Champ Bailey is a perennial Pro Bowler at cornerback, a position at which the Broncos added two more talented players this offseason in Tracy Porter and Drayton Florence.
In other words, offenses this season might stay away from the perimeter of Denver’s defense and try to attack the heart of it up the middle.
That’s something middle linebacker Joe Mays is aware of — and excited about.
“They’re definitely going to try to attack the middle of the defense, whether it’s running up the middle or trying to get a couple of quick passes up the middle, trying to test us linebackers,” Mays said. “We’re looking forward to it. (Defensive Coordinator Jack) Del Rio definitely has a great plan for us when it comes to playing the run and the pass. I just say bring it on. We’re definitely going to be ready.”
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard agreed with Mays’ assessment, but said it’s no different than any other year — “linebackers always have a target on their back.”
He anticipates teams trying to get two blockers on Miller, and with Mays’ hitting power, he said it wouldn’t surprise him if teams try to double-team the middle linebacker at times as well.
But one advantage the Broncos could have this year are sizable defensive tackles in the middle of the front line.
“Its going to allow our linebackers to roam free,” Woodyard said. “And Del Rio, like I said, he wants his linebackers to go downfield and make plays. I think that’s something that’s going to help us out. With the bigger bodies, the (Kevin) Vickersons, the Justin Bannans — it’s good to have him back — it’s going to be pretty exciting to see.”
MAYS ON MILLER
Mays said that every player is using OTAs to cut down on mental mistakes and get used to the team’s new offensive and defensive schemes.
But one defender that has stood out to him in terms of improvement is Miller.
“He’s grown a lot,” Mays said. “He can just come out on the field and do things that other guys can’t do. There’s certain things that he does that you just can’t coach; it just comes natural to him. He just goes out there and does it naturally and I look for him to better this year. He’s definitely going to help our defense.”
“The way the guy can just spin, dip and rip — just do all types of things — I can’t even explain it,” he continued. “It’s amazing the type of things that he does naturally. And with the coaches continuing to coach him, he’s only going to get better. So I look forward to seeing him do some special things for us this year.”
WOODYARD TALKS TREVATHAN
When he was drafted in the sixth round, linebacker Danny Trevathan couldn’t hide his excitement to join fellow Kentucky Wildcat Woodyard on the Broncos.
Trevathan said he tried to model his game after Woodyard, a player he said was “just born to be a leader.”
On Tuesday, Woodyard talked about the player who is “kind of like (his) little brother.”
“I knew what we were going to be getting,” Woodyard said of the team drafting Trevathan. “Danny was a great player in college. Him coming here, getting a chance, and him watching me in college and coming in and stepping in my shoes—it’s a great opportunity for the both of us. We’re both going to compete. And I know what type of player he is. Coming from a school that I went to, I know he’s going to give it his all every time he’s on the field. So it’s an honor to have a guy like him on our team.”
Though the two never overlapped at Kentucky, Woodyard said he knew Trevathan and spoke to him often as the rookie rose through the ranks with the Wildcats.
While Woodyard never hesitated to give Trevathan advice and tips as a collegiate, the team captain knows now is the time to take a step back and let Trevathan learn on his own.
“I’m trying to let him learn the things he can do and he can’t do before I go in there and just try to tell him everything he needs to do,” Woodyard said. “He’s coming along real well. I think he’s had two interceptions throughout these OTAs — so he’s doing well.”