It is a given and understood by any true fan that an individual honor pales next to team success, but it is still a pleasure to see guys recognized for the hard work, dedication and professionalism which they brought to the Denver Broncos in 2009.
Most recently, The Sporting News on Wednesday came out with its annual all-pro defensive team, and just two teams were represented by more than one player.
One is the Minnesota Vikings, who are poised for and hoping to have a deep playoff run. Defensive end Jared Allen and tackle Kevin Williams of the Vikings both were named.
But the only other team to have more than one player represented on the Sporting News group is Denver, which had both safety Brian Dawkins and Elvis Dumervil named by the publication.
Dawkins came to the Broncos from Philadelphia and immediately branded the defense with his passionate leadership. In 2008 the Broncos ranked 26th in pass defense in the NFL, but in Dawkins’ first year as a Bronco Denver’s pass defense improved to number three in the entire NFL.
During last week’s Dallas-Philadelphia game, the network announcers made a point of noting that the Eagles miss Dawkins and despite moving a lot of people around at the safety position they really missed his play on the field, as well as his sideline and locker room leadership.
And as for Dumervil, he was asked to change positions in an entirely new defense, worked hard, did what the coaches asked of him and led the entire NFL in sacks with 17.
Dumervil had posted just five sacks the previous year, so he went from five to an all-time Denver Broncos team record, etching his name in the Bronco record book as the all-time leader in the 50 years of Denver pro football.
Leading the NFL is certainly impressive enough, but setting a team sack record in a player’s first year playing a new position is worth special citation.
He finished third in the Associated Press voting for 2009 defensive player of the year, the highest finish by a Bronco since Champ Bailey finished second in the 2005 campaign.
So not only were Dawkins and Dumervil big stars locally for their play and their demeanor within the community, but they received national attention as well, which is a compliment to the organization.