Broncos Update Insider - Thursday., Nov. 3

Larry Coyer, the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator, has unleashed his defensive players this season. The extreme came last Sunday when he had nine players on the line of scrimmage and every one of them blitzed Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on the first play of the game. Check out the whole story as well as personnel and bye week news in this edition of "Broncos Update Insider."

Larry Coyer has unleashed his defensive players this season.

Coyer, the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator, is sending a lot of blitzes at opposing quarterbacks. The extreme came last Sunday when he had nine players on the line of scrimmage and every one of them blitzed Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on the first play of the game.

The Broncos kept the heat on McNabb for most of the game. That pressure led to a few big plays for the Eagles, but was also a factor in McNabb's 0-for-12 start that helped Denver jump out to a 28-0 lead.

The Broncos didn't blitz nine players at McNabb that often but sometimes sent seven or eight and often sent at least one extra rusher -- whether it was a cornerback, safety or linebacker.

"One offensive lineman told me 'I don't know where you all are coming from,'" defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "I said 'I don't know where we're coming from.' But you have to do that against a guy like Donovan McNabb."

Blitzing more this season hasn't been a foolproof plan. The Broncos are allowing 244.5 passing yards per game. They also have only 10 sacks, which is one more than Minnesota. The Vikings are last in the NFL in sacks.

But the players like Coyer's aggressive approach.

"I don't think he blitzes enough," defensive tackle Gerard Warren said. "I want to go get him every play. Larry believes in cranking that thing up and getting some heat on the quarterback."

The Broncos have gotten decent pressure on the quarterback in many games, but aren't finishing plays with sacks. That has bothered Coyer.

"At times we're very effective and there's others where we're stonewalled," Coyer said. "That's a critical issue. We have to look at consistency in coverage and rush."

The blitzes also put a lot of pressure on Denver's cornerbacks, and the Broncos are using rookies Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth a lot this season. Broncos safety John Lynch said he didn't think the aggressive defensive approach was hurting the rookies.

"That's the nature of that position," Lynch said. "You're going to be under some pressure at that position and you got to stand in there."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos had a very easy week during their bye. The players were off on Monday, had about an hour-long walkthrough on Tuesday and then were off the rest of the week.

Broncos receiver Rod Smith couldn't remember coach Mike Shanahan giving the team so much time off, not even when Denver was on its way to a 13-0 start in 1998.

"Mike recognizes the work habits guys have brought each and every week and he's giving us a well-deserved break," Smith said.

--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who spends as much time in his office as any coach in the NFL, said he would get out of town for a few days during the bye week. Of course, he spent the Monday of the bye week studying film of the Oakland Raiders, Denver's first opponent after the bye, but he said he knew he also had to get away for a while.

"We'll get away mentally and physically, and come back Monday ready to go for the second half of the season," Shanahan said.

--Broncos running back Tatum Bell is averaging seven yards per carry. That gained the attention of Mike Shanahan's father Ed.

"He said, 'Mike, the guy's averaging seven yards a carry. I'm not a football guy, but why don't you give the guy the ball more?'" Shanahan said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28th - The Broncos rank 28th in the NFL in passing defense. They are allowing 244.5 yards per game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's the guys up front, that's the receivers and tight ends, that's everybody doing their part." - RB Mike Anderson on Tatum Bell running untouched for a 67-yard score against Philadelphia.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

When the Broncos placed cornerback Lenny Walls on injured reserve, a move that will lead to him being put on waivers when he recovers from a minor groin injury, it showed Denver has confidence in its young cornerbacks.

Rookie Darrent Williams is already starting. Rookie Domonique Foxworth is the nickel back and is playing well. Rookie Karl Paymah is improving. The Broncos also have second-year cornerback Roc Alexander and Curome Cox, who is backing up at corner and safety.

Walls wasn't happy with being demoted, wanted a chance elsewhere and the Broncos were happy enough with their depth at cornerback to accommodate him.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--G Dwayne Carswell was placed on reserve/non-football injury. He suffered serious injuries in a car accident last week. His status for next year is still unknown although he's expected to try to play again.
--G Taylor Whitley was signed to help Denver's depth on the offensive line. Whitley was with Miami the past two seasons and started 11 games.
--C Chris Myers is a rookie but he is one of Denver's key backups on the offensive line now that Dwayne Carswell is on injured reserve. Myers can play guard or center.
--CB Curome Cox was on the practice squad to start the season but he has impressed the team with his versatility. He has spent the past few weeks taking over for injured safety Sam Brandon in the team's "big nickel" package because he can match up against tight ends.
--C Tom Nalen was praised by Broncos coach Mike Shanahan after the first half of the season. Shanahan thinks Nalen, who is 34, is playing as well as he has ever played.
INJURY IMPACT: CB Champ Bailey should be able to play in Denver's game after the bye week. But his injured hamstring could be a lingering issue for the team all season.

T George Foster has been slowed by a sprained knee ligament but he should be close to 100 percent after Denver's bye week.



Voice your opinion on our Broncos Hardcore Message Board

Mile High Huddle Top Stories