Going into the week four game against the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos linebacking corps was average at best. Von Miller has had his moments, Joe Mays was unspectacular, and Wesley Woodyard has improved, but remained inconsistent. The one game suspension of Mays for a wicked helmet to helmet hit on Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub which took a piece of Schaub’s ear, forced defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to plug Keith Brooking into the mix against the Raiders.
In that game, the unit as a whole looked much quicker. They simply were better at stopping the run and getting pressure on Carson Palmer. Whether or not Del Rio simplified the defensive schemes to allow Brooking to call the plays easier, we do not know. What we did see is the defense hold a formidable Darren McFadden to a miserable 34 yards and forced Palmer to run for his life on several occasions. Granted, it was the Raiders, and they are clearly not the force that the Atlanta Falcons, the Texans, or even the New England Patriots are, who happen to be next on the Broncos’ schedule.
The cohesiveness of the unit cannot be dismissed, so head coach John Fox and Del Rio should seriously consider allowing Brooking another start this coming Sunday.
Broncos Notes: TE Virgil Green will probably be announced back on Saturday from a four game suspension for violating the NFL performance-enhancement policy. S Mike Mohammed was signed to the practice squad.
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