The Broncos decided to go a different direction at defensive coordinator this season, promoting the man ultimately responsible for the No Fly Zone (trademark pending), Joe Woods. He’s already made his mark on the players in the secondary, but this year aims to put his stamp on the entire defense.
Woods had to miss training camp Saturday to attend a funeral. It’s not like they lacked any energy or fire on that day, but coming out Sunday they played at probably the highest level they’ve played at this camp. That would be for none other the new DC, who had a meeting that probably inspired their best day yet, which happened to be the first day in pads.
“I liked it. We talked about it in the defensive meeting this morning, just in terms of going out when we have pads on—we want to be physical” said Woods when asked about how the practice went today. He even called attention to how the secondary was beat the first few days of camp, “When they all come out to compete they hate to get beat. It’s not perfect. They’ll complete a couple of passes on us, but those guys take it personal.” That team looked to Sunday’s game to prove a point for sure.
Last year’s defense saw a lack of production when stopping the run. In an attempt to shore that up, the Broncos brought in long-time Bengals NT Domata Peko. On Peko in particular, Woods said “One of the reasons we brought him in is because of the level he’s played at for his entire career. He’s a big body in there, he controls his gap and he can take on double teams.”
The nose tackle wasn’t that only position of weakness for stopping the run; the linebacker position struggled as well. Woods felt it was important to build on the partnership of LBs Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall. “Those guys were together last year. They developed that relationship, the rapport, where they understand what they’re trying to do. They understand how to communicate. It’s really good to have that right now with those two.” said Woods regarding the dynamic duo in the center. He totally gushed about Davis today as well, saying “He’s unbelievable. Todd Davis is the type of guy you want to coach on defense. He’s playing 100 miles per hour on every snap” and that “He’s hungry and he’s out there to prove a point that he can play at a high level in this league.”
Normally, especially with John Elway’s Broncos, rookies aren’t expected to come in and be leaned on immediately, but this year, with the sudden losses of Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett, Woods is calling on new Bronco DeMarcus Walker to impact day one. “The thing we like about DeMarcus is that he has a lot of versatility. Right now, everything is fluid but we’re trying to move him around a little bit just in terms of playing the d-line and playing a little bit of outside linebacker. He’s a unique player just in terms of what he’s able to do,” Woods stated about the player when discussing his practice time at both DE and OLB. “It’s nothing that is set in stone, we’re just looking at it in practice and taking it from there to see where it goes.”
That could very well be coach speak to let us know Walker could be a dual threat and weapon for this defense. The DC also said they would rely on Kasim Edebali and Vontarrius Dora as backups and rotational players.
This offseason and training camp has already seen it’s ups and downs on the offensive side of the ball, a huge one coming on Sunday’s session. The defensive side, however, seems to have gained their edge and swagger back, if it ever even went away. Much of that comes from the consistency of that coaching staff, especially the promotion of Joe Woods. And the doubters of the quarterbacks and offense need to take into consideration just how dominant and amazing this defense is going to be again. They’re learning a brand new system, while the defense is just perfecting theirs.
See the full presser below.
— Denver Broncos Zone (@DenverBroncosZ) July 30, 2017