There were many people who criticized the Broncos during the off-season for acquiring four members of a mediocre Cleveland Brown's defensive line. After ten days of training camp, it looks as if Mike Shanahan can say to all the doubters ‘I told you so.' Each one of the former Browns has had a great training camp thus far. Three of the four acquired from Cleveland were named starters after the first depth chart was released. Michael Myers is the starting left tackle, while Gerard Warren is the starting right tackle. When Courtney Brown comes back from his injured left elbow, he will be the starting left defensive end, while Trevor Pryce is the starting right defensive end. Warren in particular has had a very impressive camp. He has had his hands in many defensive stops and has done an exceptional job pressuring the quarterbacks.
The linebackers who need no introduction, are an extremely strong force this season for the Broncos. No trio in the league will hit harder and run faster than Al Wilson, Ian Gold and D.J. Williams. They are arguably the best linebackers in the league because of their speed and knack for landing bone crushing hits. Second year man D.J Williams, who was the first man to lead the Broncos in tackles as a rookie in 32 years, has looked solid in camp. Williams is also confident the Denver defense will be among the elite this season.
"I think we can be one of the top defenses out there. As long as everybody communicates and stays healthy, we've got all the tools," Wilson said.
The Broncos secondary has played extremely well during training camp. The cornerbacks led by Lenny Walls and Champ Bailey have had key interceptions during several red zone drills. Two weeks in, they have done a great job covering the Broncos top wide receivers. Bailey, who is no stranger to Pro Bowls and has gone to the last five, should make it six in a row. With Walls playing as good as he has during camp, he might be joining Bailey in Hawaii.
The man who joined Bailey at the Pro Bowl last year, free safety John Lynch has shown no signs of slowing down after twelve years as a hard-hitting safety. During camp, Lynch has laid out several people with his trademark hard hits. Lynch seems to be in mid-season form and is still a major threat in the Broncos secondary. Joining Lynch at the other starting safety spot is strong safety Nick Ferguson who, like Lynch, combines speed and hard hits.
The Denver defense this year is not only powerful, but possess lightning speed. The letter of the day, ‘D' also stands for ‘domination', which is exactly what the Denver defense hopes to do to unsuspecting offenses this season.
Additional contributions from Dianne Harrison and Brian Tipett.
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