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  • Another LB change????

    http://www.rockymountainnews.com/new...at-linebacker/

    Things have been so unsettled at linebacker for the Broncos, Wesley Woodyard was asked this week whether he always knows who he'll see beside him on game days.

    "No," Woodyard responded with a smile. "But I always know I have a dependable guy next to me. There's a lot of guys who love to play football. That's what it boils down to."

    All three starters are out with knee injuries. And that has led to some mixing and matching for the team's defensive coaches as they try to plug the holes.

    Jamie Winborn's flexibility was an easy fit when Boss Bailey went down.

    Woodyard's ball-hawking abilities and speed were the next answer as the Broncos sought to replace D.J. Williams on the weak side.

    Now there's more uncertainty.

    The situation became so fluid with middle linebacker Nate Webster's sprained knee last week it wouldn't be surprising to see Mario Haggan, whom Denver acquired two weeks ago, at middle linebacker against Atlanta on Sunday.

    Stranger things have happened.

    "All these guys really just need to get reps, reps, reps," Broncos linebackers coach Jim Ryan said. "Because during practice, the backup players ... kind of just have to see it and then perform without reps if they have to go into the game. But these guys have been very good at getting mental reps."

    Haggan's a big-bodied player with 66 games of experience in five years with the Buffalo Bills. And if Haggan were to get the call over Niko Koutouvides, it would be the first time he has started after five years toiling in Buffalo.

    "I hold myself accountable to being a player on the field. And I feel like that it's not a big problem," said Haggan, who didn't receive a qualifying offer as an unrestricted free agent from the Bills and sat out a four-game, league-mandated suspension in September.

    "Making calls and getting people lined up is what a 'Mike' (linebacker) is responsible for, and I like that responsibility. It's getting comfortable with the system and understanding exactly what the coaches want. That's the transition I'm trying to make."

    Haggan (6-foot-3, 252 pounds) was stuck behind the likes of London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes and Paul Posluzny in Buffalo.

    "But I'm in a fortunate position - not because the guys are hurt - but to have an opportunity to come off the street in my second week and have an opportunity to play. It's a big deal for me."

    Like Koutouvides, who came to Denver via Seattle in free agency, Haggan made his reputation on special teams. He was credited with 84 tackles for Buffalo's coverage units and last season made 10 unassisted tackles and a sack on defense.

    "He's only been here a couple weeks, but he's been terrific," Ryan said, without divulging the team's weekend plans. "He's a hard worker. He's in here extra trying to pick everything up, which he needs to be because he doesn't know the defense as well as the other guys. And he's a physical presence. He looks like a big, physical linebacker. So I think he has a chance to help us."

    Koutouvides filled in for Webster for more than three quarters during Denver's 34-30 victory at Cleveland. But he was involved on only two tackles, and the rust of not having played since the preseason was at times evident.

    "He's just got to keep getting better and flashing plays when the opportunity arises," defensive coordinator Bob Slowik said. "Like Woodyard, you just want to see somebody go in there and make something happen when the opportunity comes."

    Woodyard was all over the field at Cleveland while making his first career start. He might have to rein in his aggressiveness on misdirection plays to avert open backside cuts, particularly this weekend considering the Falcons' zone scheme is similar to the Broncos' running attack. But Woodyard also plays instinctively and has been a sure tackler ever since opening eyes in the preseason as an undrafted free agent. He had 10 stops (nine solo) against the Browns.

    "Wesley's a steal of a player," Winborn said.

    "He plays hard and he pays attention," linebacker Louis Green said. "That's what it comes down to, knowing what's going to happen before it happens because you don't have a lot of time to think out there."

    The decision now is whether the Broncos coaching staff expands Woodyard's role. Green replaced Winborn in the nickel package against the Browns. Woodyard remains a special-teams fixture, and the Broncos have wanted to ensure they don't overburden the rookie.

    But his athleticism also might be too good to keep off the field.

    No such mystery exists with Winborn. He has proved to be the Swiss Army knife of the linebacking corps, with the ability to play both outside spots and the middle in a pinch. He's also natural in pass coverage.

    "I'm not sure where we'd be without Jamie," Ryan said. "We ask so much of him ... and he's just always ready. He responds."

    He'll need to, with Bailey out for the year after microfracture surgery last week. Bailey will be on crutches for the next six weeks to start his rigorous road back. Webster and Williams both are expected to be missing until December, so the total reconstruction of the position will continue for the near future.

    The new group has been helped somewhat by practicing together in training camp as the second unit and through personnel switches at the various spots all season long. That is, unless Haggan starts and that goes out the window, somewhat.

    "It's been one of those years," Green said. "You know injuries can happen, but some years are worse than others and this is one of those times. You just have to be ready when your opportunity comes."

    CanDB's commments:

    Geez...can't say I know much about Haggan, but I didn't know much about Niko either. Okay, who wants it??? Somebody....anybody!!!

    This is why we need to draft a MLB big time in 09!!!!

  • #2
    I dont think we need an early-round MLB. We have bigger holes....most evidently at the safety position (we need to bring in 4 completely different safeties next season IMO) and Defensive End/Tackle....If we can pick up a huge free agent like Terrell Suggs or Julius Peppers, I'm all for spending an early pick on a Middle Linebacker :salute!:


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    FA Targets: DT Jason Jones, DT Pat Simms, S Reggie Smith, LB Dan Connor



    :cool:

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    • #3
      Originally posted by getlynched47 View Post
      I dont think we need an early-round MLB. We have bigger holes....most evidently at the safety position (we need to bring in 4 completely different safeties next season IMO) and Defensive End/Tackle....If we can pick up a huge free agent like Terrell Suggs or Julius Peppers, I'm all for spending an early pick on a Middle Linebacker :salute!:
      I disagree....:nono:

      The man in the middle seems to orchestrate the action in a good defense. The MLB is like the QB of the defense. Just look at what has happened to us since Al Wilson got injured. We haven't been the same ever since. We need an early round MLB!!!!
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jack-o-Lantern View Post
        I disagree....:nono:

        The man in the middle seems to orchestrate the action in a good defense. The MLB is like the QB of the defense. Just look at what has happened to us since Al Wilson got injured. We haven't been the same ever since. We need an early round MLB!!!!
        Look, I see your point of view. But we have absolutely NOTHING at the safety position right now. Our defensive ends aren't getting sacks and our safeties can't tackle or cover.

        Like I said, if we pick up a high impact free agent Safety or Defensive End (Suggs or Peppers) then I'm all for drafting a Middle Linebacker to be the heart and soul of the defense :salute!:


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        FA Targets: DT Jason Jones, DT Pat Simms, S Reggie Smith, LB Dan Connor



        :cool:

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        • #5
          Just make Woodyard our MLB when D.J. is back, then hope Boss is healthy all next year and if not we got Winborn to back him up again :2cents:.

          Wesley has the athleticism, leadership and work ethic to get it done at the MIKE.

          I'm for us drafting some safety's, a DT and CB... and maybe a SSLB in the later rounds.
          Last edited by UberBroncoMan; 11-14-2008, 03:51 PM.


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          • #6
            Draft Laurinitous. And no, I don't know if that's how it's spelled. Or that MLB out of USC, Maualuga.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UberBroncoMan View Post
              Just make Woodyard our MLB when D.J. is back, then hope Boss is healthy all next year and if not we got Winborn to back him up again :2cents:.

              Wesley has the athleticism, leadership and work ethic to get it done at the MIKE.

              I'm for us drafting some safety's, a DT and CB... and maybe a SSLB in the later rounds.
              we don't need athleticism at the Mike position...remember that's why we kicked DJ back to the outside..

              On another note...I kind of like the idea of Mario Haggan playing Middle Linebacker... "he's a physical presence. He looks like a big, physical linebacker. So I think he has a chance to help us."

              Haggan (6-foot-3, 252 pounds) that's a monster of a Middle Linebacker...maybe he can get it done


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              FA Targets: DT Jason Jones, DT Pat Simms, S Reggie Smith, LB Dan Connor



              :cool:

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by getlynched47 View Post
                we don't need athleticism at the Mike position...remember that's why we kicked DJ back to the outside..
                We kicked him back because he was a better use there. Ian Gold was gone so we put him in his natural position, not because he is extremely athletic. He still did outstanding at MIKE... and yes athleticism is important at the MIKE position. Just look at most of the MIKE's out there... even Al Wilson had great athleticism (he was also only 6 feet tall). I'd rather us actually use Wesley Woodyard then have him on the sidelines because he isn't taking D.J.'s spot. I want to see Bailey - Woodyard - Williams next year.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by UberBroncoMan View Post
                  We kicked him back because he was a better use there. Ian Gold was gone so we put him in his natural position, not because he is extremely athletic. He still did outstanding at MIKE... and yes athleticism is important at the MIKE position. Just look at most of the MIKE's out there... even Al Wilson had great athleticism (he was also only 6 feet tall). I'd rather us actually use Wesley Woodyard then have him on the sidelines because he isn't taking D.J.'s spot. I want to see Bailey - Woodyard - Williams next year.
                  we need a "killer" at Middle Linebacker...not an athletic guy that makes tackles 5+ yards down the field... Yes DJ racked up the tackles, but he isn't a real bruiser-type. We need a big guy not afraid to stick his nose in there, and blow up some blockers. Woodyard is a better fit as an outside linebacker due to his lack of size...he's pretty much a DJ Williams minus 10+ pounds...dont get me wrong, i LOVE Woodyard...and would actually want him being our other outside linebacker (Boss's career is in jeapardy with his knee surgery)


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                  FA Targets: DT Jason Jones, DT Pat Simms, S Reggie Smith, LB Dan Connor



                  :cool:

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by UberBroncoMan View Post
                    I want to see Bailey - Woodyard - Williams next year.
                    I agree that sounds like a great line up, so far. "Woodyard also plays instinctively" this quality is not to be under-estimated esp at FS and SS.

                    It's too early for me to say for sure or talk about the draft too much. I'd like to see our youth develope more first. I will say that if we keep working on the DE position thru the draft or free agency. I will pull my hair out, lol. They are developing nicely. Out of all the picks and money that have been used on the position if its not rock solid by now there is another gear or two making the machine not run perfect!

                    P.S. The MLB is the RB of the D and S is the QB of the D IMO
                    I hate the Defenseless Receiver rule and the fines. Posted since '07. 2011 rule addition :nono: backhand a fool!

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                    • #11
                      What about Spencer Larsen?? Yes he's playing fullback right now, but he's always been a Linebacker.

                      I'd like to see DJ, Larsen, and Woodyard playing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by getlynched47 View Post
                        Look, I see your point of view. But we have absolutely NOTHING at the safety position right now. Our defensive ends aren't getting sacks and our safeties can't tackle or cover.

                        Like I said, if we pick up a high impact free agent Safety or Defensive End (Suggs or Peppers) then I'm all for drafting a Middle Linebacker to be the heart and soul of the defense :salute!:
                        how bout this: safety in the first, im sure there will be someone there for us, best offensive player we can find in the second like a HB, WR, or a TE just to get an insane single back formation, then pack a third and a fifth to move up and take jason phillips. anyone like that idea?
                        Darcel McBath 2009 Adopt-a-Bronco

                        McDaniel's Assistant Assylum: Defensive Line Coach

                        Jay Cutler 336-555 3666 yards 27 TD 26 INT 7W 9L
                        vs.
                        Kyle Orton 336-541 3802 yards 21 TD 12 INT 8W 8L
                        Robert Ayers 18 Tackles 1 TD
                        First Round Pick TBA

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goatmaster View Post
                          how bout this: safety in the first, im sure there will be someone there for us, best offensive player we can find in the second like a HB, WR, or a TE just to get an insane single back formation, then pack a third and a fifth to move up and take jason phillips. anyone like that idea?
                          we're stacked at offense...no need to waste a high draft pick on offense


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                          FA Targets: DT Jason Jones, DT Pat Simms, S Reggie Smith, LB Dan Connor



                          :cool:

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bronco_Hyde View Post
                            What about Spencer Larsen?? Yes he's playing fullback right now, but he's always been a Linebacker.

                            I'd like to see DJ, Larsen, and Woodyard playing.
                            I forgot about him! Guy can hit; we know that. I wouldn't mind seeing what he can do.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bronco_Hyde View Post
                              What about Spencer Larsen?? Yes he's playing fullback right now, but he's always been a Linebacker.

                              I'd like to see DJ, Larsen, and Woodyard playing.
                              Yep, I think we need Larsen in there as well......At least we know he can tackle..
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbUHEBHsC8I
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