The defensive players on the Broncos are undoubtedly excited about their new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. Del Rio played in the NFL for eleven years so he’s widely considered a “player’s coach.”
“There’s nothing like having a coach that actually played the game so he knows what’s going on in there,” linebacker Joe Mays said after Tuesday’s practice. “He knows that things may not work out the exact way that you’re coaching. Sometimes he let’s us go out there and just play ball. Whether it’s going out there and doing what he tells us to do or if we just go out there and play it the way we see it, we’re never wrong as long as we’re all on the same page.”
That’s got to be a great feeling for the players, especially for the veteran linebackers who are encouraged to drop back a little more and make plays.
“I think the biggest thing with him is I like the fact that he loves his players to be playmakers,” linebacker Wesled Woodyard said. “We might make a mistake, but he came up to us and told us, ‘Hey, go make a play. I’m not going to take your playmaking abilities away from you.’ Him being a linebacker, he understands the way we feel and what we see.”
Del Rio was a third round draft pick out of USC in the 1985 draft. He was an NFL journeyman playing for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins, but in a way, perhaps that is what makes him such a great defensive coach. He’s seen enough styles, enough coverage schemes and alignments to know what works.
Del Rio can often be seen rolling up his sleeves and actually getting into stances during practice. He’s a leader by showing and by telling.
“Just having that defensive minded guy who has played the game just out there showing you how to play defense. It’s pretty sweet,” Mays said.