Just two years ago, Elvis Dumervil was the talk of the town.
He was leading the league in rushing, and one of the few bright spots on a Denver defense that was ranked 26th in rush defense. He finished ’09 with 17 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. He was the earthquake on the Broncos’ 8-8 team that year, shaking, rattling, and rolling opposing quarterbacks.
The next year had even higher hopes for him as he would look to get even more comfortable in Josh McDaniels’ 3-4 alignment. However, during training camp he tore his pectoral muscle and needed season ending surgery even before the season began.
Now Dumervil is back. He’s got an accomplice in No. 2 overall draft pick Von Miller, and he’s once again on the mend. He sat out part of training camp and two regular season games with a shoulder injury.
In the two games that he has played in, Dumervil has just 1 tackle. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen isn’t too concerned though.
“When you’re off for that extended period of time, you’ve got to have a little bit of time to get back and get in the groove,” Allen said. “Everything that you do out there is reactionary, so he’s got to get used to reacting to certain things that he’s seen.”
Allen knows that Dumervil isn’t playing like his pre-injury self, but he still expects great things from him in time.
“I thought he looked a little rusty,” Allen said referring to the Packers game. “I think every day that he’s out here, every game he plays in, every practice he practices in, he gets a little bit better every day. It’s just like anything else when you don’t do something for an extended period of time. He’ll be the type of player we want him to be.”
Dumervil’s return comes at a great time as the Broncos prepare to host the San Diego Chargers. For only the second time in his career, Philip Rivers has more interceptions than he has touchdowns. A little pressure will go a long way with him as he tries to find his groove. A lot of pressure (Dumervil and Miller) could throw him completely off track, something Rivers doesn’t let happen too often in division games.
Elvis took an extended leave, but he did not leave the building. He worked hard in the off season and he’s back in familiar territory at right defensive end in the 4-3 rather than at linebacker in the 3-4.
It’s said that time heals all wounds. In this case, hopefully it can inflict some too. The Broncos are ready to welcome back the same old sack-producing Dumervil.