The Young and the Restless in the Broncos’ secondary is anything but antsy. The rookies and 2nd year players have not been sequestered to the bench this season.
Due to injuries, the young guys have had to be rotated into the game, particularly in dime packages.
Perrish Cox, Cassius Vaughn, Syd’Quan Thompson, and Kyle McCarthy have seen plenty of playing time in their rookie seasons. 2nd year players, Darcel McBath and David Bruton, have also played an important role on defense and on special teams.
All of these young guys have made great plays, but they’ve also let things slip by them.
Josh McDaniels describes this group as smart, talented, and mentally ready for their age.
“It’s a very good group for a young group,” McDaniels said. “The big common theme with all of them is they’ve been able to mentally handle what we want them to do. Whenever you’re a backup player in the secondary, you can’t just learn one spot…We’re kind of cross training them, and you can’t do that unless, mentally, they can handle that burden.”
I’m sure Perrish Cox didn’t enter the season thinking that he would play such a major role in the Broncos’ defense. He was backing up Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, two great corners in the league.
Then the call came when Goodman started having problems with his hamstring, forcing him to miss six games. That immediately threw Cox into the fire playing against the likes of Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
Experience like that can be the best teacher, but only for the most disciplined student.
Luckily this young group has had players to look up to. With four starters in the secondary over the age of 30, there’s been no shortage of wisdom.
McDaniels described the bond between the two groups as more like a father-son relationship.
“I think that’s great for the young guys in terms of learning how to be a pro, learning how to study, learning how to prepare, and also being able to get the communication from some of those older guys when they’re on the field with them,” McDaniels said.
As the young guys have been forced into roles that they haven’t been used to playing, it’s worth noting that brains are just as important as bronze.
“Being smart enough to handle all of the adjustments, and understanding how we’re going to try to play our coverage schemes against different teams – That’s not what’s holding them back from being on the field.”
The thing that’s holding them back is the experienced Pro Bowlers ahead of them – the dads of the squad – who aside from making themselves better are trying to make future generations better.
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