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Musical Defense for week 1- Denver Broncos

Musical Defenses – Week 1 Audible is Denver “D”

Draft day has passed and the question looms as to how well you did. Every year I have a celebratory moment where the right guy falls to me or my draft strategy pays off. This year was to grab the skill players and wait until the last pick to grab the Broncos “D” to start.

All we can do is speculate at this point. I love evaluating speculators grades of team defenses. I have not agreed with one grade to this point on the Denver Broncos Defense. While I am not a Bronco fan, I know talent when I see it. Let’s look at some of the things that I saw with the first team and why you should consider rolling with them versus a mediocre Raider team.

Front Four

Robert Ayers– DE  (6’3″, 274lbs)

A 1st round pick in 2009, 18th overall out of Tennessee, he is really coming on. This year he finally gets the spark he needs to be a very good player.

Elvis Dumervil– DE (5’11”, 260lbs)

A torn pectoral muscle sidelined Dumervil for the 2010 season. He is back and with a vengeance. The 2009 pro-bowler registered 17 sacks that year and is truly an elite player. He has a motor that doesn’t quit.

Broderick Bunkley- NT (6’2″, 306lbs)

Was part of an Eagles team that allowed 108 rushing yards per game. He is a force in the middle.  The Florida State product was selected in the first round (14th overall) of the 2006 draft. He is a monster at the leverage game.

Kevin Vickerson– DT (6’5″, 290lbs)

A true journeyman, Vickerson earned a starting spot with the Titans in 2009. He is a late bloomer and started 12 games for the Broncos last year. I suspect with the return of Dumervil, the pressure from the outside will result in a greater number of sacks for Vickerson inside.


Von Miller– Strong side LB (6’3″, 237 lbs)

The second overall pick out of Texas A&M  is unbelievable. His awareness on the field is that of a journeyman. When you see this big cat play you will realize he is exactly who you need to stop the run and put pressure on the opposing team’s QB.  Can you say this defense is better because of one player? Rather he is the missing piece that makes this defense better.

DJ Williams– Weak side LB (6’1″, 242lbs)

119 tackles and 5.5 sacks last season make me believe this guy can play at the highest level. His 475 tackles in the last four seasons is 7th in the NFL. I could go on and on including his joining Ray Lewis and James Farrior as as the only three players with at least 700 tackles and 15 sacks since he entered the league in 2004. You know who he is.

Joe Mays– MLB (5’11”,250lbs)

Plays much bigger than he is. Mays sniffs out the screen pass and really gets to the ball carrier quickly. Definitely a lesser known commodity but he has great work ethic and continues to develop under coaches. This guy is not a one man wrecking crew but rather a team tackler.


Champ Bailey-CB (6’0″,192lbs)

10 career pro bowl selections, yada, yada, yada. Bailey is still an elite corner back. Enough said.

Andre Goodman-CB (5’10”,191lbs)

Led the NFL with eight pass breakups over the last four weeks of the 2010 regular season. Is this the guy they think is the week link? I don’t see it. Goodman has all the tools and skill set to hold on to his starting job.

Brian Dawkins- S (6’0″, 210lbs)

You know how good he was making the NFL all decade team (2000’s). Can he still play?  I still believe. Great teacher for rookie safeties Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore.

Rahim Moore- S (6’1″,  196lbs)

Moore played four years at UCLA where he was the #2 safety prospect in the country as a senoir. Now that isn’t enough to base your decision on whether he can play. I suspect Dawkins will really accelerate the learning curve of the defensive backfield.

Matchup Notes:

I think you will see that the Raiders will have a difficult time protecting Jason Campbell. Dumervil is going to pose match-up problems because of his speed.
Campbell had mild success last season in Denver during week #7, (12-20 for 204, 2TDS). That was without Dumervil, Bunkley, and Miller. Campbell was sacked 33 times last year although just three times in the preseason. I don’t think the preseason numbers have much merit here folks.

The running game is going to dictate how well play action passes set up. If the Raiders are unable to break off big chunks of yards, This could get ugly for Campbell. The Raiders have lost the last 11 prime time games. Campbell plays almost 5 percentage points better at home, but game is in Denver.

The speed of the Raiders is unquestionable with WR’s Jacoby Ford and Darius Heyward-Bey. Can the Offensive line hold together long enough to get the ball down the field? Darren Mcfadden and Michael Bush will carry most of the load here. This plays into the strength of Denver’s defense, the LB corps.

Should be a great smash mouth game to watch. Newly acquired TE Kevin Boss will be a nice security blanket for Campbell.

Forecast: Dink and dunk city with heavy pressure. High probability of sacks, and the occasional turn over.

I have witnessed increased pressure from the front four, the absolutely stellar play from the linebacker corps, and adequate pass defense. I have a really hard time imagining why they would be ranked in the bottom 5 teams. I have seen teams on paper that looked the part and when they hit the field, they collapsed.  This is not that team. I am a buyer with respect to opportunity.  I did select this defense with the final pick of my 2011 draft. I will either be a genius or a chump who wasted a pick in the final round of my draft. Either way it’s okay I wake up with my new wife. 

Cheers to you Speculators for not taking the Defense that experts dubbed the best on paper. May you think for yourselves, question everything, and accept nothing as absolute.

With 32 defenses out there, I understand that Denver isn’t who you need to target in a draft. I have played musical defenses week in and out and made it to the championship game in my leagues doing so.  This is my week #1 Bronco defense and I like the match-up against the Raiders Monday night.

Questions/Comments/Concerns to

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