A year ago, the Denver Broncos’ defense improved an area of weakness, but it wasn’t strong in the place that is supposed to be its greatest strength: rushing the passer.
The Broncos were better at stopping the run in 2017, becoming one of the best defenses in the NFL in that category.
‘If you can rush the passer and you can cover outside, you can play great defense’
This year, coach Vance Joseph fully expects his team to get back to applying major heat on opposing quarterbacks.
“It’s a defense full of pass-rushers,” Joseph told Alex Marvez, Gil Brandt and Ed McCaffrey during the SiriusXM NFL Radio training camp tour stop at the Broncos’ facility in Englewood, Colo. “That’s the league. If you can rush the passer and you can cover outside, you can play great defense. So I’m excited about that.
‘Our defense is built to play with the lead’
“Last year we fixed the run; we’re top five in stopping the run, but we didn’t sack the quarterback. And that’s really a team issue. We didn’t play with a lead last year. Our defense is built to play with the lead. We get a lead, now we can turn Von (Miller) and (rookie Bradley) Chubb and Shaq (Barrett) and Shane (Ray) loose. If it’s an even-Steven game, it’s going to be tough on those guys to have production. That’s what happened last year.”
The Broncos will have an opportunity to show off that pass rush when open their preseason schedule Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings. They’ll also get to see their quarterback, Case Keenum, make his summer debut against his former team.
‘(Keenum is) really good in the huddle, putting us in the best plays each down’
“Well, first of all, he’s brought a clear-cut leader for our football team,” Joseph said of Keenum. “That’s been huge for us in our locker room and on the field. But he’s a proven quarterback. And the guy completes the ball. He’s so accurate with the ball. That keeps drives alive. He’s really good in the huddle, putting us in the best plays each down. That’s been impressive to watch.
“And I tell you, in my opinion, he’s getting better and better. So, hopefully, I’m right about that and he gets better than he was last year.”
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