February 1, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Defense

The Denver Broncos defense had a surprisingly good year under the direction of DC Dennis Allen. The group went from being the worst in the league to middle of the pack in a single season. This was due to the return and addition of two of the best players on our defense. They are Von Doom aka Batman and Robin aka Von Miller and Elvis 'Doom'ervil. With a relived pass rush and creative play calling the Broncos defense improved out of sight and was one of the big reasons this team made the playoffs.

Statistical the Broncos defense had a solid year but there is room for improvement next season as we try to build a power house team. Over the season the Broncos defense amassed 836 solo tackles and 218 assists for a total of 1054 total tackles, which is average for the league. The area of biggest improvement for the defense was the sack department and as mentioned above that was because of the dynamic sacking duo. The defense collected 41 sacks on the year and I think if we have a health Von and Doom all next year I expect this number to be over 50.

Two areas that I think need to greatly improve is in the turnovers categories. All season long the Broncos only got 9 intercepts, yep only 9. Add to that the 9 fumbles that we recovered that is a total of 18 turnovers. Compare that to the 13 intercepts and 17 fumbles our opponents got, 30 in total, there is massive room for improvement. The complete defensive passing stats are, 58 passes deflected, 9 intercepts for a total of 152 yards with a long of 55. With 3 of those being returned for touchdowns. For the fumbles the Broncos forced 12 and recovered 9. None of which were returned for a touchdown.

Individual Stats

Defensive Linemen

Marcus Thomas
To say Thomas loves the 4-3 is an understatement. He started off the year slow coming back from injury but he came on in a bigger way I think this year. He didn't gain any sacks but he managed to collapse the pocket on numerous occasions and was generally solid in the run game.

Marcus Thomas2914430.003100000000

I would hope to resign Thomas and would like to see his sack numbers improve.

Brodrick Bunkley
The pick up of the year by far for our defense and really solidified the defensive line for this season. Like Thomas, Bunk didn't get any sacks this year but that isn't the position he plays. He is a run stopper and did a great job of it this year.

Brodrick Bunkley3310430.003000000000

Hopefully we resign him too. For next season keep doing what you have been doing and try to sneak out a few sacks.

Elvis Dumervil
What can I not say about Doom. For me he was one of the most improved players on the team. You can tell he really worked hard in the offseason. He had more strength and played the run really well compared to his struggles in previous years. And to bounce back from his injuries the way he did was amazing. Every game he was health he put up sacks. He finished the year with a total of 9.5. He will get double digits next year.
Elvis Dumervil3111429.5632100000100

For next season just stay healthy, please.

Robert Ayers
Ayers is an interesting prospect and I haven't given up on him yet. He was a project for this year, new coach, new defense and new position. Playing with Miller on his outside who struggled at times containing the edge probably limited him a little. He didn't amaze until the playoffs but put up respectable numbers. He managed 3 sacks on the year.

Robert Ayers2514393.0122200001100

Next season he needs to continue his improvement and try to pump those sack number up, say 5+

Ryan McBean
As a rotational player McBean did enough to warrant another look. He got 4 sacks playing the nose tackle position and has showed improvement. Let's see that continue.

Ryan McBean1914334.0104000000000

The remaining few didn't do overly much but were rotational guys that did see some time, Jason Hunter and Mitch Unrein. Then there is Big Vick and Ty Warren who are expected back next season. This is an above average group that is just lacking that impact player from DT.


Wesley Woodyard
Lead the team in tackles though he is a back-up!

Wesley Woodyard6730970.001200003000

He should be resigned and continue what you are doing.

DJ Williams
Was solid all year and occasionally came out and made a huge play. I would love to see DJ continue this improvement and renewed focus.

DJ Williams7020905.0385200003100

Not much I can say in the way of improvement here, maybe pick a pass off?

Joe Mays
Will probably be on the team next year but hopefully not as a starter. He missed a team high 20 tackles on the year.

Joe Mays6411750.008200000000

He is average at best, an upgrade is needed. I have been a fan of Dan Connor before he was drafted by the Panthers but I also really like Irving.

Von Miller
The phenomenon, was worth the 2nd pick and ever penny on his contract. The best player to come out of the draft this year...until he got hurt. If Miller can stay health and he continues to progress his sack numbers could be crazy high in the foreseeable future.

Von Miller50146411.5778400002000

All I want Miller to do is become a complete linebacker. Learn to play the run and drop into coverage. Then you may become one of the greatest.

Mario Haggan
Subbed for Miller through the year when the rookie was struggling. Is still a serviceable vet and the only one of these linebackers to tack a pick this year.

Mario Haggan1310230.00311161610000


Chris Harris
The surprise player of the year. Once he took the starting job he really shined. Was an amazing tackler and lead the secondary for total tackles (the real reason for this is he was picked on a lot as a rookie but he made form tackles all the time).

Chris Harris6210720.00161151500000

The skys the limit for Harris next year. He may take the number two job from Goodman but I think it is more likely Harris and Squid are the nickel and dime next year. With a vet or draft pick at number 2 depending on what happens.

Quinton Carter
Took over for Rahim and an injured Dawkins. For a rookie he came on in a big way. For me he is too slow to play Free Safety, I see him as more of a banger like Dawkins at strong safety.

Quinton Carter4511561.040000000000

For next season keep improving and learning the defense. Carry over those picks from the playoffs into the regular season would be a big plus. Oh and learn not to lead with your head to tackle, I would hate to see you in a wheelchair. Hit'em hard but with the shoulder

Brian 'Wolverine' Dawkins
B-Dawk had an up and down year. For the first half of the season he was superb. He picked up 3 sacks in that time. The second half of the season he struggled with injuries. It looks like he has an neck injury that may end his career but I would always be happy to have him back.

Brian Dawkins3813513.0383600001000

Dawk has done it all, not much he can improve on if he comes back, maybe try to get a few more picks? If he does come back I think they will try to limit his snaps and rotate him with Moore and Carter.

Andre' Goodman
For me is done and dusted. He struggled for most of the year but when he was at his lowest he always found a way to bounce back with a big play.

Andre' Goodman418490.001102462610100

Goodman and Bailey was a better combo then Bly and Bailey but he is done in my mind. They will probably keep him for depth but a new impact player is needed at the position.

Champ Bailey
Is still as good as advertised. He did get picked on a little more than usual but his play was still top notch. He also had a surprising amount of miss tackles for Champ Bailey. Most of these though were one on one tackles in the open field usual deep in the secondary against other peoples receivers. These are the hardest tackles to make but Champ is the best so he needs to clean that up.

Champ Bailey354390.0011020001000

For next season Champ needs to work on those open field tackles and making a few more plays on the ball. No more 2 pick season, I would like to see 5.

Rahim Moore
Rahim 'Miss' Moore 'Tackles'. The number one reason he was benched was because he could not tackle. Rahim couldn't even tackle a fat kid, who is sitting down, eating cake.

Rahim Moore283310.00121181800100

Moore has talent, that is why he was drafted. But to play defense in the NFL you have to tackle. Till he learns that he will ride the bench and if he doesn't work it out in a year or two Champ will be playing in his FS spot.

Jonathan Wilhite
A project player that was out shined by Harris. He burst onto the scene with his two sacks early in the year but dropped off after that. Will be a back up going into the future.

Jonathan Wilhite253282.0180212200000

David Bruton
The enigma. Bruton showed flashes at times and struggled at others. He filled in late during the season after Dawk was out with his neck injury. Bruton played well, showed better understanding and angles then in previous years plus some real speed. But the problem was some weeks he would tackle perfectly and the next game he would tackle terribly.

David Bruton182200.002300000000

Bruton should be back next year and may even fight it out for a spot with Rahim but that at the moment for me that seems like a disastrous proposition. I expect an upgrade here, hopefully a veteran presence.

The defense as a whole played well for most of the season and helped propel this team into the playoffs. But for it to take the next step and become great it looks like we need an impact player at DL, MLB, CB and FS. One in each area of the defense. It will be interesting to see the direction EFX go with this and whether existing players come on. ~ Aussie.


  1. For a bit of fun: http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/02/01/tim-tebow-von-miller-getting-chased-by-brady-and-manning-on-the-desktop/12011/

    Also I have been hearing that Wes probably won't resign with us, he wants a starting spot and has had enough playing behind DJ. I think the fact he hasn't been able to beat out Williams may show poorly to some teams and his only option would be to resign with us. But who knows.

  2. Here's what I been waiting for. You said it was ready to go. Nice, readable breakdown. You should put it up on MHR too.
    Now my turn to say what I think we need to "fix" the D. You know everyone is saying we need a DT in the first round (me too), but as you can see so easily here it is true. McBean got 4 sacks and Thomas got through with some pressure, but that isn't good enough. Ayers had only 3 sacks (2 more in the Steeler game. With a 4 man front we have to get there every down with somebody. Doom gives 100% every play. He has the motor you need as a DE. I don't think the Ayers does. Maybe Ayers needs to play DT. He's good against the run. Anyway we need more pressure. We did better this year, but still need to get better yet. To do this we need two starting DL to replace Thomas and Ayers IMO.
    Now the LBs. Pretty bad when Woody is our leading tackler. MLB should a tackling machine. Where is he? Oh yeah, we don't have one still. Irving could be....maybe. Connor sounds great if he doesn't re-sign with Carolina I hope we make a strong run at him. Even if he is the only FA we sign. He's only #5 on Walter footballs list of MLBs though.
    Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions. Age: 27.
    D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns. Age: 28.
    David Hawthorne, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 27.
    Curtis Lofton, ILB, Falcons. Age: 26.
    Dan Connor, ILB, Panthers. Age: 26.
    Please, please, please get one of these guys.

  3. Haha I would have to join MHR then :P

    With the DTs we have two uncertainties there. Big Vick and Warren, both who could see a lot of playing next year if healthy. Plus we haven't seen what slim Vick can do yet.

    I am not a fan of Ayers as a DT full time, he doesn't have the power needed for run downs. He would be double teamed and dominated every play. I think they will keep him at DE as he is serviceable and focus there addition on DT.

    That being said they need to find an impact player at the position. I like Still and Brockers so far as those guys. But we would have to move up. The other position they should target is CB and again to get an impact player at that position they would have to move up.

    As for the LBs I hope Irving is that guy and I think the FO is hoping that too. Tulloch isn't coming here, he didn't last year. Jackson is too old for me, but he could be a stop gap. Hawthorne I don't know much about but he looks promising. Lofton and Connor I like because they are young. Connor I think will leave the Panthers for the same reason Woodyard is. A starting spot, both are sick of being back ups. We probably can't guarantee him a starting spot but he would be the favorite for the position. And I really like Connar, I wanted to draft him back when he came out.

  4. Oh and Wes being the leading tackler confirms how bad Mays was this year. Wes was put in more often then you would expect and I have a feeling they slid DJ inside a number of times as well.

  5. Fair enough. Hey can you read the comments if you're not a member?

  6. Yep I can read all the comments, main reason I go there is for peoples ideas, just can't comment myself or post posts.

    Also I keep coming up with ideas for articles, which is a bit annoying, I want to do a madden 12 rant and I am thinking of doing a comparison post between DJ and Woodyard as it is a bit of a hot topic now, and I also still got all the review pieces, I have the special teams and draft pick review pieces already done.

  7. I assume she is to busy with work or maybe her boyfriend.... Whoops I mean Jimmy :P

  8. Hey Digger I saw your post on MHR about Champ and it reminded me of a post I did last year, here it is:


    But I think with Moore struggling Champ will probably end up with that FS spot. Plus Champ wants to play safety at some point and he knows safeties don't get paid corner money. He would reconstruct his contract in this situation.

  9. I knew I read that somewhere LOL. No, I reread your's and you mostly focused on him moving to safety and how full we are/were at FS. Mine focuses on his $7 mil bonus he is due at the start of the next year. I don't know what Xanders was thinking. This is the second contract he has done that totally pisses me off the other one was Orton's. I'm not fond of Doom's either.

  10. I think Champs deal is I hope focused on his move to safety, if they plan to move him next year to safety then they will reconstruct this deal before the bonus. But then again how many corners would you take over Champ? I can only think of one, Revis but Tebow made him look like a bitch. So he is worth every penny.

    Ortons deal was just dumb.

    I wasn't fond of Doom's deal either because he was paid Demarcus ware OLB money, but he has taken himself to that level now, he is a more complete player then he was 2 years ago.

  11. Hey guys, I'm still around just haven't been able to come on here. Was busy on my days off and this is the first chance I've had to come on here after my little rant a few posts ago. lol I do think del Rio is a good choice for our defense I just hate that we keep making changes once the team seems to have adjusted well to a previous change already. Gets on my nerves. Even Champ said it. I read somewhere, I forget, but he simply put it "its another change we have to adjust to". Every coach has their own style and now our defense has to adjust AGAIN to another way of doing things. I think what Allen had started was going well but needed to be followed through to be even more effective and eventually be a solid D over time. IMHO

    Whatever, its a done deal.

    You better watch it Aussie lol. Jimmy & I are barely hangin on as friends. Long long story, even for here lol but he's been getting on my nerves to where I just got tired of being around him. Honestly, I can't even pinpoint why he's been getting on my nerves but he has so I've been ignoring him. Spoke to me for the first time in about a week yesterday and he's still being his stubborn self. And I thought I was a stubborn little cuss. lol

    It's not because he's so much older than me, he's just been a jerk lately and I do what I do best to jerks... ignore them. lol Enough about him....

    I'm open to the idea of Champ moving to Safety, as long as he keeps playing. Man still has plenty left in him and I can only hope & pray that with Denver he gets to go out on top like he deserves. A player of his caliber deserves a Super Bowl ring.