Broncos S Darian Stewart looking forward to improvement

Sayre Bedinger
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates a fumble recovery with free safety Darian Stewart (26) against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates a fumble recovery with free safety Darian Stewart (26) against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart feels like the league’s bet defense can be even better in 2016 than it was in 2015…

If you don’t already love Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart, you will after reading what he said to the media on Wednesday in response to some of the national media giving the Broncos a real tough time this offseason.

But before we get to that, we need to fully appreciate the value that Stewart was in free agency a year ago.

Coming over from Baltimore on a modest two-year deal, Stewart combined with T.J. Ward and David Bruton Jr. to give the Broncos a punishing trio of safeties throughout the season, and if we’re being completely honest, Stewart gave the Broncos the most consistent play at the position all year.

He provided punishing hits, made great plays in coverage, and was generally all over the field for the Broncos, making John Elway and the front office look good for finding one of the best bargains on the free agent market at a time where they didn’t have much money to spend.

Stewart is not shy about saying what’s on his mind, especially if given the platform to speak. Nor should he be. The Broncos haven’t exactly been atop anyone’s power rankings this offseason, and for good reason. They are seeing a ton of change on the roster, including possibly starting a rookie at the QB position. The defense, however, returns a majority of players, and came away with some nice pieces in the draft and free agency. Stewart shared his opinion on the predictions that the Broncos will win just eight or nine games this year:

“It doesn’t matter. We’ve still got to play these games. We’re going to take care of that once the season starts.”

So how does this team silence the critics? Doing just that — winning football games and proving how good they are when the season starts. The Broncos weren’t given any respect last season — they had to earn it. The same will be true this year, and Stewart understands that. He thinks this team doesn’t get the respect it deserves, and has a message for everyone on Denver’s schedule:

“Not at all. Like I said, we still have to go out there and play and keep proving them wrong. It is what it is. Everybody is titled to their opinions. We’re just going to keep working and keep getting better. This is our second year together. It’s going to be hell for teams this year.”

So what’s the source for all of this disrespect?

“I don’t know. Like I said, most of these guys making these opinions never played football. Some of the other people making them, they played on other teams and they go for their teams. It is what it is.”

Stewart was also given the opportunity to respond to NFL Network’s Ike Taylor — a former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback — who asserted that the hardest hitting secondary in the NFL is in Pittsburgh…


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“They must not have watched the film. If you look who said it, like I said, he was a Steeler. For him to the say the Steelers are No. 1, that was bad. He shouldn’t even be on TV. He remembered D.T. [Demaryius Thomas] well.”

In addition to responding to plenty of trash talk, Stewart actually talked about ways the defense can improve this year. One way is getting the ball back to the offense even more than they did. He feels like they can get their hands on the football more.

“Creating more interceptions. That’s the key. We did a lot of great things last year, but I think as a secondary we definitely want to lead the league in interceptions.”

Leading the league in interceptions would be fun to see, and it’s a wonder this defense didn’t get more than it did last year. Without trying to be greedy having witnessed one of the great defensive seasons in the history of the league, this is the best secondary in the NFL today, and they can capitalize on the pass rush by making more plays on the ball. Hopefully we’ll see more of that this year.