I am particularly glad to bid Josh McDaniels’ 3-4 defensive preference farewell. While there are some fond memories of the Broncos’ 3-4 back in the days of the Orange Crush, the recent memories of the alignment bring back images of Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles tearing it up on the ground.
With a new coaching staff, and new front office alignment, it’s only fitting that the Broncos switch back to the 4-3 alignment on defense. John Fox has plenty of experience with it as does defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen. The key to the switch-over is finding the right personnel to fit the scheme. The drastic change is worth the shot. It can’t get much worse than the team’s defense in 2010.
The Broncos gave up the most total yards in team history (6,253), gave up the second most rushing yards in team history (2,473), and tied for the second fewest sacks (23) in team history. It’s no wonder Tim Tebow’s presence brought excitement. His squad was the only one making big plays and bringing energy to the game.
Look for the Broncos to address their defensive needs in the draft. Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will move back to their original defensive end positions, which should benefit Ayers a lot. Hopefully, Dumervil is still as productive as he was in ’09 when he made the move to outside linebacker – a role that was unnatural but he flourished in.
According to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post, if the Broncos had to play the 4-3 in a game today,
D.J. Williams, a starter since he was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, would become the Broncos’ weakside linebacker in a new 4-3 set, with Haggan or Joe Mays candidates at middle linebacker. And either Haggan or Wesley Woodyard would play at strongside linebacker.
On the defensive line, the Broncos will likely convert Justin Bannan, a defensive end in the 3-4 last season, to a defensive tackle.
With Dumervil and Ayers expected to start at defensive end, the other tackle would come from a group that includes Jamal Williams and Marcus Thomas. Thomas is a free agent who the Broncos may consider re-signing. Williams is under contract for $5 million next year, but that figures to be too much for a player who is about to turn 35. – Denver Post