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Rookie Corey Nelson gets the call for Denver Broncos

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  • Rookie Corey Nelson gets the call for Denver Broncos

    When the Denver Broncos finished their offseason work and broke training camp, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said he believed the defense's rookies would help in what had been an extensive makeover on that side of the ball.

    First-round pick Bradley Roby is already a regular on defense who Del Rio trusts to match up with some of the best receivers clutch situations thus far. Fifth-round pick Lamin Barrow, who was tossed from Sunday's game for throwing a post-play punch as the third quarter drew to a close, has played some at linebacker in the defense as well as plenty on special teams.

    Sunday, it was rookie linebacker Corey Nelson's turn. The seventh-round pick from May's draft had appeared some in the Broncos' overtime loss in Seattle in Week 3. He was forced into a far bigger role Sunday when Danny Trevathan left the game with a left knee injury following the defense's second play from scrimmage.

    "They don't get out there unless we like them," said Broncos head coach John Fox. " … [Nelson's] learning, he's a young guy that's worked and kind of earned his stripes in the kicking game."

    But Trevathan's exit left the Broncos with some roles to fill in their scheme since Trevathan plays in everything. Brandon Marshall, who went for Trevathan at weak-side linebacker kept his usual spot – usually with Trevathan – in the Broncos' nickel package as well.

    But the Broncos then used Nelson as the second linebacker in the nickel. Against the Jets, he ended up playing the nickel enough that Nelson finished the day as the Broncos' leading tackler.

    "He got in there and made some plays," said linebacker Von Miller. "That's what we want, no matter who goes in there, they go in and get the job done."

    Trevathan will undergo additional tests Monday and while the Broncos were hopeful it wasn't a season-ending injury when they left MetLife Stadium Sunday night, Nelson figures to be in the mix some Sunday when the Broncos face the San Francisco 49ers and perhaps beyond as well.

    The Broncos likes Nelson's athleticism when he came into the draft -- he ran a 4.60 40-yard dash at Oklahoma's pro day at 231 pounds. He had missed most of his final season with the Sooners with a torn pectoral muscle, but the Broncos saw a player who made plays in both coverage and the pass rush -- with an interception return for a touchdown in 2013 to go with a 4.5-sack season as a sophomore.

    Nelson also took to special teams quickly and when the Broncos made the cut to 53 players, both he and Barrow were among the linebackers they kept.

    "That's what it takes," Miller said. "We need everybody, if you're in this locker room, we need everybody to be ready, just in case. Be ready to help when it's time to help."

  • #2
    Broncos defensive rookies on fast track

    When it comes to divvying out playing time in the Denver Broncos defense, Jack Del Rio believes in the more-the-merrier approach.

    Or technically the more-the-engaged approach And “engaged’’ is a word Del Rio uses a lot when it comes to any discussion as far as who plays and how much for the Broncos.

    “You earn your way,’’ Del Rio said. “That’s always the start, we tell all the guys earn your way, but I think we’ve shown in our time here, and we’ve been consistent in how we talk about it, how we do it, is if you earn your way, show us you can contribute something to what we’re doing, we’ll find a place for you.’’

    That has certainly been the case for the Broncos rookies on defense in this season's early going. Part adjustment to injuries and part those first-year players carving out some room, the draft picks on defense have been in the rotation more than their offensive counterparts to this point.

    The Broncos had a six-player draft class this past May, three players on defense, three on offense. Defensively, cornerback Bradley Roby (first round) was a defensive regular right from the start who has played at least 69 percent of the team’s snaps in all five of the Broncos’ games thus far.

    The Broncos have used him in any and all situations, including matching him on the likes of Reggie Wayne and Larry Fitzgerald already this season. Roby had his first sack Sunday against the Jets and is one of the team leaders in passes defensed as quarterbacks have consistently elected to test him late in games.

    With Danny Trevathan’s knee injury early in Sunday’s win over the New York Jets, linebacker Corey Nelson (seventh round) was moved into the Broncos’ nickel package and was certainly efficient. Nelson was credited with a team-leading seven tackles in the game in his 36 snaps of work.

    Nelson, made his first appearance on defense in a two-play cameo against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 as the Broncos wanted to get more speed on the field to try to hem in Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

    And linebacker Lamin Barrow (fifth round), who was ejected from Sunday’s game for throwing a post-play punch at a Jets player, was also used on defense against both the Seahawks (11 plays) and Arizona Cardinals (eight plays). Barrow also has been a special teams regular.

    “We’ve got the depth to match personnel … we’re not scared to put anybody in this room in the game,’’ Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said. “Guys get ready to play, they get in there, they play, man.’’

    The depth of the Broncos playbook on offense, as well as quarterback Peyton Manning doing plenty of work at the line of scrimmage with a bevy of audibles run at no-huddle pace, has made it a little more difficult transition early on for the offensive rookies.

    Wide receiver Cody Latimer (second round), who has consistently shown his potential in the team’s practices, has appeared in one game and been a gameday inactive four times. Tackle Michael Schofield (third round) has been a gameday inactive for all five of the Broncos’ games and center Matt Paradis (sixth round) is on team’s practice squad.

    “I just know we will need every one of them before this is all over,’’ Broncos head coach John Fox said. “We have a lot of football in front of us, a lot of things can, and will happen. Those guys, like all our guys, show up and go to work and get themselves ready to play. Not everybody gets a uniform on gameday, that’s just the rules. But we like where all those guys are right now.’’
    Last edited by JesseH; 10-14-2014, 01:44 AM.


    • #3
      JDR is in the habit of playing all the active defenders on game day.
      "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus


      • #4
        This kid really flashed against the jets. Had some great instinctual plays where he was moving towards the ball before the play developed
        A healthy Kenneth Dixon is a top 5 NFL RB.