Broncos defensive tackle Justin Bannan knows all about the ups an downs of the NFL. He sandwiched his winning years in Baltimore with some tough years in Buffalo, Denver, and St. Louis.
Bannan came to Denver in 2010 when the team went 4-12. He then followed Josh McDaniels to St. Louis where that team won just two games in 2011. Now he’s got another chance in Denver where things look mighty fine, at least on paper.
“I couldn’t be more excited and driven to have a great year than I am today,” Bannan said.
Bannan played in McDaneils’ 3-4 defense during his first stint in Denver and racked up 35 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. However, the Broncos switched over to a 4-3 when John Fox got into town.
“I feel more comfortable in a 4-3,” Bannan said. “I think a 4-3 is more attacking. I’ve always played an attack style type defense…Whether it’s a 4-3 or 3-4, they have their pros and cons. I’ve been fortunate to learn both of them. It’s not really a big change for me.”
Bannan will begin his eleventh year in the NFL, and you can tell he’s wise just as his experience would suggest.
“If you look around the league, you’re going to have 32 teams out there that have the same buzz, the same excitement, and everybody thinks they’re going to win the Super Bowl,” Bannan explained.
For lineman, Bannan cautions against getting too hyped this time of year.
“As a lineman, it’s hard to develop your game without pads on,” Bannan said. “Obviously the truth gets told in training camp. That’s when you put the pads on, that’s when you find out who’s who.”
Bannan will be competing for a starting job with Ty Warren returning to the lineup and the Broncos No. 1 overall draft pick Derek Wolfe looking to make an immediate impact.
That’s been the storyline of Bannan’s career, however. Early in Bannan’s carrer, he backed up Sam Adams in Buffalo. Once he got the chance to start, he never looked back.
“Every guy has their point where they either blossom or they don’t,” Bannan explained.
Until Derek Wolfe blossoms or until Ty Warren fizzles out, Bannan is just the kind of guy the Broncos need on the line.