Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Nate Irving (56) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) in the end zone in the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Irving Talking The Talk, Can He Walk The Walk?

Denver Broncos linebacker, Nate Irving, is talking like a player who is ready to be a major contributor to his defense. Regarding his aspirations for 2014, he recently said this via denverbroncos.com:

“I want to be one of the most reliable players. I don’t want to miss a game. I don’t want to miss a snap at practice or anything like that. I want to contribute to this team both on the field and off the field in meetings and in the locker room.”

I like what I’m hearing from him. The departure of Champ Bailey, Wesley Woodyard and Mike Adams left a vacuum in the leadership department for the defense. DeMarcus Ware is filling some of that void, but it’ll take more than that. I want to see the starting Mike linebacker for this team be a leader. But in order to lead in the locker room, you have to first lead with your play on the field.

And therein lies the rub. Everyone in Broncos Country is hoping that Irving can finally take the bull by the horns and become that missing piece that the Broncos’ defense sorely needs.

Although he’s had several opportunities in the past, there have been many extenuating circumstances outside of his control that have led to someone else getting the job.

This time, the Broncos are giving Irving every opportunity to win the Mike job. He faces some stiff competition in the form of rookie 5th round pick, Lamin Barrow, and Steven Johnson.

“There’s pressure, but the pressure is coming from myself more than anyone else for me to go out there and take care of my business,” Irving said. “I don’t really allow too much outside pressure to affect me because that’s just only going to affect me in a negative way. I push myself to do this and take care of that and make sure that good things are coming from the pressure, not bad things.”

I love hearing Irving talk like this, but I want to see his actions speak louder than his words. He has all of the tools and skill-set required to be a viable Mike linebacker in this league. And now he’s getting a full opportunity to be a starter. Here’s to hoping he succeeds.

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