When Jim Bates first addressed Denver-area media after becoming assistant head coach/defense, he sounded a little like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor when discussing his plans for the defensive line.
“More power,” Bates said.
“There won’t be as much movement up and down the line of scrimmage. We will play with much more power up front, taking on blocks and being much squarer than in the past.”
And he wanted that power — and bulk to go with it — up the middle.
“We were able to manage with 290, 285-pound defensive tackles, but it makes the defense work a lot better if we have big guys up the middle,” he said at the time.
So in the last four days, the Broncos have signed Sam Adams and traded for Jimmy Kennedy. Adams arrived in Denver weighing 345 pounds; Kennedy checked in at 325 last year for the St. Louis Rams, when he started all 16 games at nose tackle — marking the first time in an injury-hindered career that he has started an entire season. Size-wise, Gerard Warren fits nicely alongside Kennedy and Adams; the seventh-year player is listed at 325 pounds.
Now, if you try and fit each of the Broncos’ defensive tackles into a large box, you’ll have room to spare in some instances. Returning tackle Demetrin Veal is 288 pounds, while fourth-round draft pick Marcus Thomas is 296 pounds and free-agent pickup Alvin McKinley is 294.
But the trend of this week is unmistakable. The Broncos haven’t been averse to having such massive tackles over the years — just not necessarily two of them on the field at the same time, as you can see with the season-opening, starting defensive-tackle couplings of recent years:
2006: Gerard Warren 325 lbs., Michael Myers 300 lbs.
Average: 312.5 lbs.
2005: Gerard Warren 325 lbs., Michael Myers 300 lbs.
Average: 312.5 lbs.
2004: Mario Fatafehi 300 lbs., Trevor Pryce 295 lbs.
Average: 297.5 lbs.
2003: Darius Holland 330 lbs., Monsanto Pope 300 lbs.
Average: 315.0 lbs.
2002: Chester McGlockton 334 lbs., Lional Dalton 309 lbs.
Average: 321.5 lbs.
If the Broncos start some combination of Kennedy, Warren and Adams, it would give them their heaviest defensive-tackle combination in recent memory, and what Bates surely hopes would be an effective one.
“It always starts up the middle,” Bates said. “and if you’re good in the run defense up the middle, it makes your whole team better.”
AND ONE MORE THING …
There’s a few number changes on the roster today. Adams now has No. 95, which had belonged to Jarvis Moss, who moves to No. 94, his number at the University of Florida. Amon Gordon, who previously donned No. 94, will now take the No. 63 jersey that Adams so snugly wore in the last three days of OTAs.