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Bill Johnson set to join defensive staff

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  • Bill Johnson set to join defensive staff

    Broncos continue coaching maneuvers

    With coaches interviewing all around the league in recent days, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan continued to move quickly to fill his available slots.
    Having already secured Jim Bates as defensive coordinator this week, Shanahan continued over the weekend to zero in on former Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bill Johnson, according to two league sources.

    The Broncos and Johnson have agreed in principle and Johnson could be formally announced as soon as Monday as a new Broncos defensive line coach.

    Neither Shanahan nor Johnson could be reached for comment Saturday.

    Johnson will replace Andre Patterson, who was fired earlier this week, and split duties with long-time Broncos assistant Jacob Burney in the team's defensive front. The Broncos are looking for more production up front in a defense that finished with just 35 sacks this past season.

    The 51-year-old Johnson was a long-time college assistant, including stops at Miami (1987), Arkansas (1990-91, 2000) and Texas A&M (1992-99). He had been with the Falcons since 2001.

    Falcons defense end Patrick Kerney, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March, has said publicly the Falcons retaining Johnson would be one of the factors he would consider before re-signing in Atlanta.

    The Broncos hiring Johnson could give them a chance in free agency at Kerney at what is a need position for the team.


    The Broncos are also believed to still be pursuing Pete Rodriguez to join the staff as well.

    Rodriguez is one of the most respected special teams coaches in the league and at the moment he's available for the right offer. The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Rodriguez and four other assistants earlier this month when Jack Del Rio re-shuffled his staff in the wake of the team's playoff miss.

    However, Rodriguez still has a year remaining on his contract with the Jaguars, and said Thursday he wouldn't be in a hurry to take anything but the right offer.

    Rodriguez and Shanahan are long-time friends. Rodriguez was a Los Angeles Raiders assistant in 1988-89, hired by Shanahan when he was the Oakland's head coach. Special teams were a trouble spot for the Broncos this season. Denver was 31st in the league in average drive start after kickoffs, did not have a returner among the AFC's top 12 in punt returns and did not have a returner in the AFC's top 17 on kickoffs.

    "I'm going to look at everything,'' Rodriguez said. "I'm just enjoying my time right now.''

    Rodriguez, a former Denver Gold assistant and graduate of Western State in Gunnison, has coached five Pro Bowl punters in his career and was named special teams of the decade in the 90s by the Dallas Morning News, which conducts an annual special teams report each season.

    The Broncos hired Bates this past week as assistant head coach/defense while Bob Slowik, who is the Broncos secondary coach, was also promoted to defensive coordinator. Slowik and Bates will participate in the game-planning during the week, but Bates is expected to call the plays on gameday.

    The Broncos had a similar arrangement on offense this past season with Mike Heimerdinger as assistant head coach and Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator. Heimerdinger coordinated the team's passing game, Dennison the running game with Shanahan calling the bulk of the plays on gameday.

    The re-shuffling of the defensive staff came in the wake of the 9-7 finish that did not get the Broncos into the postseason.

    The Broncos led the league in scoring defense after six games in '06 and at that point in the year the team was 5-1 and had surrendered just 272 yards per game. However, by the end of the season they had fallen to 14th in total defense, allowing 326.4 yards per game including 359.2 yards per game over the last 10.

    The Broncos also surrendered leads of at least eight points in home losses to Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco over their last five games at Invesco Field at Mile High.

    http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...278527,00.html
    I'd be interested in Kerney as a cheaper alternative to the top FA guys, but he's already 30 and isn't a long-term solution. Pair Kerney with a nice rook though, and you'll hear nothing but praise from me.

  • #2
    Praise the lord!
    sigpic

    :cool: 150 lbs of pure steel and sex appeal. :cool:

    D.J. 55's Mock Draft:

    :logo:
    Denver Broncos General Manager

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WABronco
      I'd be interested in Kerney as a cheaper alternative to the top FA guys, but he's already 30 and isn't a long-term solution. Pair Kerney with a nice rook though, and you'll hear nothing but praise from me.

      Kerney would be nice....Isn't Rod "Don't you know who I am" Coleman a free agent too?
      Last edited by stnzed; 01-13-2007, 07:59 PM.

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      • #4
        Are Johnson's D-line's usually good?

        B-Marsh owning Al Harris(Aka: the supposed most physical corner in the league)

        Mock Draft:

        **If Ellis/Dorsey fall**

        1) Dorsey or Ellis(whoever falls)
        2) Devin Thomas
        4) Frank Okam
        4) Beau Bell

        **If Ellis/Dorsey dont fall**

        1) Desean Jackson
        2) Pat Sims or Trevor Laws(whoever falls)
        4) Frank Okam
        4) Beau Bell

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WABronco
          I'd be interested in Kerney as a cheaper alternative to the top FA guys, but he's already 30 and isn't a long-term solution. Pair Kerney with a nice rook though, and you'll hear nothing but praise from me.

          But if you look around with the right conditioning and a cheaper contract Kerney could be around for up to like 3-5 more years possibly. Not saying its ideal but I sure wouldn't mind him!
          Bronco fan from Packer Land.
          Lefty Writer on The Sports Show with Woody Paige and Les Shapiro
          Tweet me @JoRo_5551

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          • #6
            Originally posted by broncs2bowl
            Are Johnson's D-line's usually good?
            back in 04 when the Falcons made the playoffs they lead the league in sacks.

            Since then they have had a lot of injuries, you can't really blame the guy for that and he got decent production out of them, and if someone like Kerney says he wants to play for him you know he must be pretty good.
            Bronco fan from Packer Land.
            Lefty Writer on The Sports Show with Woody Paige and Les Shapiro
            Tweet me @JoRo_5551

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            • #7
              we'll have to see how much kerney wants before we can really discuss this, but i certainly wouldn't mind seeing us target him. . . something i've commented on before is that this looks like an unusually strong FA group of DE/pass rushers. . . cincy just gave geathers an extension, and we know that freeney, smith and adlius thomas will be on the market, and likely rice, grant and rucker as well. . . maybe an older guy will be willing to take a little bit below market value to play for a team like denver-- especially if a coach to whom he's attatched ends up here. . .

              it seems like the best pass rushers tend to stay productive late into their careers (just for comparison, jason taylor is over two years older than kerney)-- i believe that a big part of it is learning to compensate for any lost speed by developing a bigger repertoire of moves, refining techniques and learning to play with better leverage, learning to anticipate the snap count and read plays, picking up clues and tips from the offense, improving their strength with years in NFL weight rooms, and learning the strengths and weaknesses of various OLs around the league. . . . i won't get my hopes up about acquiring a big-name free agent, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on. . .
              Officially Objectified by the GPA

              rest in peace, darrent williams and damien nash-- you will be missed!!

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