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.
Marcus ThomasTo 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.
I would hope to resign Thomas and would like to see his sack numbers improve.
Brodrick BunkleyThe 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.
Hopefully we resign him too. For next season keep doing what you have been doing and try to sneak out a few sacks.
Elvis DumervilWhat 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.
For next season just stay healthy, please.
Robert AyersAyers 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.
Next season he needs to continue his improvement and try to pump those sack number up, say 5+
Ryan McBeanAs 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.
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 WoodyardLead the team in tackles though he is a back-up!
He should be resigned and continue what you are doing.
DJ WilliamsWas solid all year and occasionally came out and made a huge play. I would love to see DJ continue this improvement and renewed focus.
Not much I can say in the way of improvement here, maybe pick a pass off?
Joe MaysWill probably be on the team next year but hopefully not as a starter. He missed a team high 20 tackles on the year.
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 MillerThe 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.
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 HagganSubbed 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.
Chris HarrisThe 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).
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 CarterTook 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.
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' DawkinsB-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.
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' GoodmanFor 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.
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 BaileyIs 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.
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 MooreRahim '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.
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 WilhiteA 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.
David BrutonThe 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.
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.