Del Rio To Remain With Denver
Despite the Denver Broncos losing in the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks who clearly came ready to play, Jack Del Rio supported a defense that played well even when they weren’t at full strength. We as Bronco’s fans never truly saw the true potential of how well this defense could play due to all of the injuries sustained throughout the season. Jack Del Rio would sign a two-year contract extension Thursday to stay with the Broncos until 2015.
Del Rio had to mix up looks with the different defensive personnel he had to work with week in and week out. Champ Bailey would miss the first six-weeks of the regular season due to a foot injury he suffered against none other than the Seattle Seahawks. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris would need to step up with the veteran out and they did so. Bailey returned to the line-up sparingly throughout the rest of the regular season and was then inserted as the starting LCB position against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Del Rio was without key pass rusher and perhaps his best defensive player in Von Miller for most of the regular season. Miller was suspended for the first six-regular season games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He fared well when he was inserted back into the line-up after week six but suffered a set-back in week sixteen against the Houston Texans. In the first quarter of the game, Von Miller would suffer a season-ending ACL tear, as Denver had to rely heavily upon the front-line including Terrance Knighton, Sylvester Williams, and Shaun Phillips the rest of the way.
In week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting safety Rahim Moore went down with a serious leg injury. Moore was a key cover safety for the Broncos who was top three on the team in terms of tackles. Del Rio did a good job inserting veteran Mike Adams into the line-up and putting him in a place where he could succeed. Denver’s other safety in Duke Ihenacho is more of a run-stopping safety which hurt Denver’s secondary when Moore was out of the line-up.
After a loss to the New England Patriots in week twelve , Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson found out he had suffered a dislocated hip. The time-table for the injury was a minimum of eight week timetable so the Broncos elected to put Kevin on the injured-reserve as the Broncos defense was wearing thin. Denver’s defensive-line would step up in his absence behind Terrance Knighton and the rookie Sylvester Williams clogging the hole.
As the Denver Broncos were preparing for a week thirteen match-up with the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, defensive-end Derek Wolfe reportedly got sick on a team bus en route to the game. Wolfe would return to practice on Christmas Day but after that he was shut down and placed on injured-reserve. Denver suffered another terrible blow to an already diminished defensive group as Chris Harris Jr went down with a torn ACL in the Divisional Round match-up against the San Diego Chargers.
Del Rio would insert Tony Carter in the line-up for Harris for the rest of the way through the playoffs/Super Bowl. Del Rio does deserve credit with five of his key defensive starters out. Danny Trevathan had a break-out year catching the eye of many players, teams, and fans across the NFL landscape. John Elway chimed in on the resigning of Del Rio.
“Jack did a nice job with our defense,” said John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations. “We had a lot of injuries on that defensive side, and Jack did a good job holding that side together. Even in the Super Bowl, our defense kept us in the game in the first half.”
And who could forget when John Fox went out during the regular season due to his open-heart surgery, Del Rio stepped in and did a wonderful job leading the team to a 3-1 record; the loss was to the New England Patriots on the botched special teams play. Denver has had a lot of defensive coordinators throughout the years but for now it is nice to have some stability.