Jack Del Rio has taken over a Denver Broncos defense that finished last season ranked 20th overall in the NFL. The team's new defensive coordinator is challenging his players to reach higher in 2012.
"We're looking for guys who are gonna give it up for us and give it up for each other and we're gonna build that mentality every day in practice," Del Rio told KKFN-FM, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "So that process has begun. We've established high expectations, we expect to be a top-10, if not better, defense. We've got a lot of work to do to get there but that's what our goals are."
Denver surrendered 24.4 points per game (24th overall) and 357.8 yards per contest (20th) in 2011. Their pass-rush showed promise, tied for 10th with 41 sacks, but also vanished in key moments.
During the teamâs frantic playoff push, it was Dennis Allen's stingy, opportunistic scheme that often kept Denver in games late (think back to the period, late in the season, where it was in vogue to dismiss Tebow and attribute miracles to Von Miller and friends).
The addition of Tracy Porter gives Denver a more reliable option across from Champ Bailey, but Brian Dawkins has exited stage left. Safety Mike Adams, signed in free agency, is entirely underrated and will surprise people. We donât love the interior defensive line, but drafting Derek Wolfe helps a group that was slashed for 126.3 ground yards per game.
"With Peyton you've gotta be able to play with a lead," Del Rio said. "And that's one of the things I think we can do with the strength of our pass rushers. We've got -- if you looked at the strength of our defense right now it'd be Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil coming off the edges. And we worked hard to fortify the back end a little bit with some of the additions throughout the free-agency and draft process. So that should remain a strength. I think the one thing that we tried to do when we go up against Peyton is limit his snaps, and limit his exposure. So we would try and run the ball right at the Colts and try and take away time of possession. And that'll be something that we can't allow to happen. Defensively we've gotta be able to get people stopped and not let them just run it down the field and control the clock."