Knockin' Heads With The Defense

engleberger1.jpgOn the eve of the Broncos’ first preseason game (Monday Night Football, @ San Francisco, 6pm Mountain on ESPN) let’s take a look at the current state of the defense.

The team released a depth chart this week that revealed a few surprises. One was that John Engleberger is penciled in to start at one of the defensive end spots, and the other is that Louis Green is nominally the new strongside linebacker.

Engleberger has been one of my favorite Broncos since the day he came over from the Niners. Some might forget that he was traded for that clown Willie Middlebrooks–a classic Denver trade that improved our club while shipping a problem out of town. No team in football has been better at getting something of value for headaches like Middlebrooks (see also: Ashley Lelie, George Foster, Deltha O’Neal, etc.). Anyway, while Engleberger may not have the biggest name or most imposing physique along the crowded D-line, he does work his ass off and make plays. Whether he starts or not, rest assured he will cause havoc when he’s in and I’m glad he’s part of the picture.

Green is now running with the first team following the scary injury to Warrick Holdman. There’s nothing spectacular about his play, but he’s been in the system and should acquit himself well. Nate Webster is also still in the picture.

For me, the most positive part of training camp has been the stellar play of the safeties. This position keeps me up at night–not only are John Lynch and Nick Ferguson old, but Sam Brandon is gone and the depth behind the starters is scary. But Curome Cox and Hamza Abdullah have been lighting it up, and what might have been a problem area looks like a strength. Best of all, trade talks for KC’s Greg Wesley have cooled.

The team has given their draft class–consisting almost entirely of D-linemen, an “A.” I hope this indicates that the team will be strong in the trenches for years to come.

We’ll come back with some offensive impressions later.

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