The Broncos received some great news this week when they learned that Champ Bailey would be returning to action against the San Deigo Chargers. Bailey has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.
In those three games without Bailey, the Broncos defense has given up 332 passing yards to rookie Andy Dalton, 311 yards to Matt Hasselbeck, and of course 408 yards to Aaron Rodgers. They’ve also given up 8 passing touchdowns in the last three games.
To say that Bailey’s return is welcomed is an understatement.
“I can’t over state the fact what he means to us as a defense, as a teammate period,” Brian Dawkins said. “When I look over to my left and see him standing out there, there’s a confidence level that he gives. I don’t know. I can’t even explain it.”
It can help be explained by Bailey’s 13 years of experience in the league. I can help be explained by his unwavering professionalism and ability to nurture his body to the point where he is still able to keep up with the fastest guys in the league.
After missing some time with the hamstring injury, Bailey is still feeling confident even though he’s likely going up against Vincent Jackson on Sunday.
“The difference between me and him – he knows where he’s going and I don’t. I’ve got to make sure I match his speed,” Bailey said.
Bailey is confident that he’s ready to return to action and wouldn’t put the team in jeopardy if he didn’t feel like that.
The cornerback position has taken a turn since even Champ Bailey entered the league. Before, cornerbacks were just receivers who couldn’t catch the ball. Now they are getting some of the biggest contracts in the league.
“The difference between the younger guy and me back then, they obviously get more exposure and they can see more of what we do at this level,” Bailey said. “Back then I didn’t know what to expect when I played corner. They can prepare for it a lot earlier than we did.”
In the past it was all about keeping up with the receiver and trying your best not to let him catch the ball. Now players are being coached on how to defend the receiver within 5 yards and beyond 5 yards. They are learning how to make a play on the ball. Now a batted ball isn’t always good enough. Intercepted balls are what defenses expect.
One more main difference straight from the Champ’s mouth:
“The difference now is guys were tougher back then. I definitely don’t think people are tougher now.”
The times, they are a changing.