Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin (96) throws New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) to the ground for sack on his first ply from scrimmage during the second half at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New York Giants 24-21 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Marvin Austin Impressing In Broncos Mini-Camp

The always excellent Andrew Mason had a few interesting nuggets to share regarding the Denver Broncos mini-camp. The one that really struck me was his observation regarding the newest addition to the Broncos defensive line, Marvin Austin. Said Mason:

But offseason pickup Marvin Austin could be the one who shuffles the deck. Talent has never been Austin’s problem; injuries have. He looks fast coming off the snap and helped set up the defensive ends to collapse the pocket. We’ll know more when full pads go on during training camp, but on Tuesday, Austin looked like he could flourish.  As I watched Austin, I thought about where this position group was during the 2011 training camp, and how far it has come. One of the league’s worst, most depth-shy units has gradually become one of its best. If Austin emerges, there could be an excruciating cut coming — or he could be the insurance policy in case there’s another injury this summer.

I was high on Austin when he was coming out of North Carolina in 2011. I was really hoping that the Broncos would draft him. He ended up getting drafted by the New York Giants in the 2nd round. He washed out of New York and spent a short time with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys, before finding himself a free agent for the 3rd time. It’s funny how things work out. Serendipity, baby.

As Mason mentioned, Austin has never been deficient in the talent department. He’s simply had terrible luck with the injury bug. My hope is that he will thrive physically under the direction of the Broncos Strength and Conditioning Coach, Luke Richesson.

Richesson has a very unique approach to how he treats and trains his players. There’s a reason he was named the NFL’s Strength and Conditioning Coach of 2013. 

Austin will also benefit from working under Defensive Coordinator, Jack Del Rio. Del Rio has a history of getting the most out of his defensive line. Terrance Knighton is a perfect example of this.

Knighton was drafted by Del Rio when he was the Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, back in 2009. Knighton thrived early in Del Rio’s system, but once Del Rio was fired, Knighton’s star began to dim in Jacksonville.

When he signed with the Broncos as a free agent last year, he was considered an underachiever, but Del Rio and his defensive coaching staff, mined Knighton’s vast potential and it resulted in a career turnaround for Pot Roast. His efforts were key in the Broncos post-season run last season, especially in the AFC title game vs the New England Patriots. The Patriots rushed for 234 yards and 6 TDs the week before vs the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round. Against the Broncos, they could only muster 64 yards on the ground, and that was due, in large part, to Terrance Knighton.

Can Marvin Austin follow suit and turn the ship around in Denver? Yes, he can. He has the talent and an excellent staff to keep him in tip-top physical shape.

The Broncos defensive line is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2014. Derek Wolfe, Terrance Knighton, Sly Williams, and DeMarcus Ware round out the projected starting slots. But behind them the team will have Malik Jackson, Kevin Vickerson, Marvin Austin, and Quanterus Smith.

The Broncos haven’t had that much depth on the defensive line for years. Maybe not since the back-to-back Super Bowl Champion teams of ’97-98.

The question is, if Austin continues this upward trajectory, who will find themselves on the outside looking in? It could be Mitch Unrein. However, don’t count him out quite yet. He’s a utility guy and the Broncos coaching staff loves him. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but regardless, this is a good problem to have.

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  • Derek J

    Any word on how Qaunt Smith looks early this year?

    • Chad Jensen

      Del Rio has said that he looks good and they’re glad they held him out all of last year.

      • Derek J

        Well I suppose that is somewhat of a good sign. I don’t expect him to make a big impact this year, but hopefully he is progressing as he should be. That is great news about Marvin Austin. Dude has a lot of talent if he can manage to stay healthy. We have an embarrassment of riches along the D-line this year. Hopefully everybody, not just Austin, can stay healthy.

        • Chad Jensen


    • Dave

      Andrew Mason in a recent report talked about how well Quanterus Smith was doing as the starter opposite Ware since Miller is out. He has added more to his rushing arsenal outside of just a few speed moves.

  • doc holiday

    “Del Rio gets the most out of his defensive line”—since when??

    • Chad Jensen

      Well, other than what I mentioned above, how about Marcus Stroud? He made the Pro Bowl in ’03, ’04 and ’05. All under Del Rio. Then there’s John Henderson. He was a Pro Bowler in ’04 and ’05, again, under Del Rio. Then we can look at recent history. Del Rio came to Denver in 2012. Dumervil had a very good season. Made the Pro Bowl. Not to mention that Del Rio had the Broncos, without any stars at DT, ranked as the #2 defense in the NFL. That was with guys named Bannan, Vickerson, and Unrein. Look at how Malik Jackson has developed. Same with Derek Wolfe. Hope that answers your question.

      • Dave

        More on this point, Del Rios defense in Jax was never the real issue. They werent always great but did a solid job lead by the front 7, where Del Rio excels especially the LBs. He has always done a swell job of getting the best out of his defensive line.

  • SayreBedinger

    This is very exciting. You are only ever as good as your depth. The Broncos painfully learned that on the defensive side of the ball last year when guys had to step up. Having Marvin Austin is huge because he provides insurance and he’s also a valuable asset with the expiring contracts of Terrance Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, and Mitch Unrein.

  • Renaissance Man

    One correction. That Bronocos had a solid D-line in the Super Bowl years, including one vet that should be in the HOF (or at least the Hall of the Very Good), Neil Smith. This line has MUCH more potential. The talent is there. It just needs the chance to develop. Tombstone Jackson would be proud.

  • Nathan Bates

    its too bad that you have to make cuts on a team. there is always guys a team could use but have no choice to cut them because there is a number limit. i wish the nfl would expand the active roster to 60 players. if they have to cut a guy like unrein, i hope they keep him at least on practice squad