Harris: Broncos motivated by talk D won't be same

The Denver Broncos' defense lost Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan to free agency this offseason, wiping away two key playmakers on a Super Bowl champion. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters that any talk about those losses affecting the Broncos' defensive performance will become motivation in 2016.

"Just been hearing everybody saying, 'We lost Malik, Danny, we won't be the same. We won't be good again,'" Harris said Wednesday, via the team's official website. "So that's our mindset. I think we return nine starters. You can really count (corner Bradley) Roby as a starter. So we're really bringing back 10 guys that played a lot. (Safety Shilo) Keo even played a lot for us. We have a lot of guys back. We know it's always going to be hard to replace Malik and a guy like Danny Trevathan -- who has always had his hair on fire everywhere. (Linebacker) Todd Davis, I think he'll do a great job of being able to come in and fill that role. (There is) no telling with what we'll do with the draft with the D-linemen. I still think we have the best D-line in the league."

The Broncos filled Jackson's role with free agent Jared Crick and could replenish the position in a deep draft next week. While some of the depth has been sapped, the Broncos still bring back nine starters on a defense that ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in total YPG allowed, passing YPG given up, yards per play allowed, sacks and 20-plus yards per play allowed.

Harris believes there are still some areas the Broncos can improve upon for 2016.

"We'll try to get more picks," Harris said. "We've watched missed opportunities, and we could have had even more picks than what we had. That's something that we're focusing on. It's so hard. We were No. 1 in so many categories. Passes 20-plus (yards) down the field, we're No. 1. It's just trying to figure out ways we can get better. Penalties are something that we looked at that we have to be a lot smarter. We can't have any dumb penalties like we did last year. So little things like that."

The true question this offseason isn't about the losses on defense or the upside of Wade Phillips' unit, it's about what general manager John Elway will do at quarterback -- a question still unanswered.

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