There’s no doubt that when the Broncos offense takes the field this evening against the Seattle Seahawks, all eyes will be on Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow.
When the defense steps out on to the field, however, let me direct your predominantly orange eyes to the defensive line.
As far as defensive linemen go, the Broncos are working with what they have. After Ty Warren’s potentially season ending injury, the team lost one of their top pickups in free agency. Just as Broncos Country heard the pectoral tear of Elvis Dumervil last training camp, the same can be said for Warren’s triceps tear this training camp. Both injuries have put a big dent in the Broncos defense.
That leaves the Broncos working with Brodrick Bunkley to replace Warren at left defensive tackle. Kevin Vickerson is playing right tackle while Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil take up the right and left end positions, respectively. So there you have it. Denver’s starting defensive line.
Brodick Bunkley is the guy to watch tonight. He will likely be playing into the third quarter with the team’s starting defense, so there’s plenty of opportunity to see how well he helps the group stop the run.
Bunkley came to Denver this season after playing five seasons with the
Miami Heat of the NFL
, errr, the Philadelphia Eagles. The 6’2″, 306 lb. tackle had 20 tackles in 14 games for the Eagles. In order to fill Warren’s large shoes, Bunkley must have a season like he did in 08′-09′ when he had 47 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.
Against the run in 2010, the Broncos were ranked 31st in the league, giving up 154.6 yards per game. In 2009, they were ranked 26th. In 2008, they were ranked 27th. In 2007, they were ranked 30th. Get the picture? It’s been a very long time since the Broncos were capable of consistently stopping the run.
So as we watch the Broncos most telling preseason game with a critical eye, pay close attention to Brodrick Bunkley and the rest of the line.
In the end, everything starts and ends up front.