DJ Williams has returned to practice for the Denver Broncos and so has the debate on what the team should do with him. There are a lot of people, and it is completely understandable, that believe the Broncos should just cut Williams because of his off the field issues. That’s a completely rational opinion and on many levels, I agree with that line of thinking. However that’s not going to happen, so let’s move beyond that and talk about his impact on the football field.
In the days following the loss to the New England Patriots, I wrote that the Broncos needed Williams but boy has that changed. The game versus the Patriots was the Broncos last loss and the defense has turned into one of the best units in football. They rank in the top 10 in every defensive category and are the number one defense in terms of yards given up per play. With all of that said, is it wise to mess with the chemistry that is obviously working.
It’s a tricky question but the bottom line is this; you never turn your back on talent and for all his issues, Williams is still one of the best players on the Broncos defense. He’s not going to play right away but he will find his way onto the field, he’s just too good. Now we have determined that Williams is going to play at some point, so now the question is where is he going to play?
Williams is not going to get his position from last season back, that’s occupied by Wesley Woodyard who is having a great year and there’s no way the Broncos mess with that. Von Miller is a candidate for defensive player of the year, so we can easily cross that idea off of the list. That leaves the middle linebacker spot that is currently being manned by Keith Brooking. Brooking has played well since replacing Joe Mays, but Williams is a better player. At some point in the next two to three weeks, Williams will be the starter at middle linebacker.
If there’s one area of the defense that remains a concern for the Broncos, it’s their ability to cover the tight-end. Williams is one of the best linebackers in the NFL when it comes to covering tight-ends, so he provides an immediate upgrade there. The addition of Williams to a defense that is all ready one of the best in the league only makes that unit better. It’s another guy that opposing offenses have to account for, and they are all ready struggling to block everyone. The Broncos have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and Williams, one of the best blitzing linebackers, will only enhance that.
Is Williams a good guy, probably not? Is he a knucklehead, yes? However every current and former teammate has said that Williams is a great teammate, and is a terrific locker room guy. The veteran leadership for the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey, is strong and that locker room can deal with the insertion of Williams into lineup. The Denver Broncos are a very good football team and the addition of Williams only makes them better.
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