Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (96) before the game against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Unrein is another entrenched veteran who is on the roster bubble, though it pains me greatly to say that. Unrein has been a real blue collar asset for the Broncos for several years now.
He’s a coach’s player. He does the little things that facilitate big plays and he’s a selfless, team-first player. In Thursday’s preseason game vs the Seahawks, Marvin Austin notched a sack on a stunt play that featured Unrein performing a pick to free up Austin. The play was initially called so that it would be Austin who ran the pick, and Unrein would loop in behind on the stunt.
But as Austin explained it in a radio interview with Vic Lombardi of 104.3 the FAN, right before the snap, Unrein saw something in the Seahawks’ set that triggered him to reverse the play. If you watch the play, you can see it plain as day. Right before the snap, Unrein hand signals to Austin and within seconds, the QB is on his back and Austin benefited.
Selfless. Team first. Don’t think that the coaches don’t notice things like that. They absolutely do. But the reality is that Marvin Austin is a vastly more gifted player than Unrein. There’s a reason that Austin was considered a top 10 talent before a suspension ended his entire senior season at North Carolina.
There is a way for the Broncos to keep both Unrein and Austin, but it likely involves cutting Kevin Vickerson, who has been slow to recover from a hip injury that ended his season last November. However, the Broncos value Big Vick as a locker room presence and likely won’t cut him, unless his health absolutely forces them to.
For now, the onus is on Mitch Unrein. As a fan favorite, we can only hope that he’ll continue to compete and do the little things that benefits the team as a whole.