5 Reasons the Denver Broncos Secondary Will Be Good in 2013
Broncos Will Prepare to be Better in 2013
The Denver Broncos 2012 NFL season ended on a cold, bitter night in January at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. With a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in double overtime after an interception by QB Peyton Manning, the Broncos were left licking their wounds in a what-if scenario.
The Broncos should not have even been put in the overtime situation if it wasn't for one play that changed the course of their destiny. When Rahim Moore allowed Jacoby Jones to get behind him and tie the game with only about 30 seconds on the clock after a 70 yard play, the collective gasp was heard coast to coast from Broncos fans.
How could a safety let anyone get behind them when all they had to do was guard the deepest part of the field and keep the play in front of them? We all know the story, have seen the replays and asked the questions. That one play will forever haunt Moore in his darkest dreams. That play will go down in Broncos lore, right there with "The Fumble" and "The Drive."
Let's also remember though, that Moore was ranked 10th overall among safeties by ProFootballFocus.com. He had a tremendous year that will be only remembered by that one play.
Much the same for CB Champ Bailey, who had a terrific year, but will best be remembered for his horrible first half against the Ravens that led to Smith toasting him for two touchdowns and almost a third. Yet Champ shut down his side of the field the rest of the way to allow Manning and the offense to take the lead.
For all of the issues displayed on that January night, the Broncos defense was ranked third in the NFL last season, and merely lost to a team of destiny. Here are five reasons why the Broncos secondary will not allow those mistakes to happen in 2013.
John Fox Will Be Less Consistent
How can anyone say that they want to see less consistency from their head coach? What John Fox was criticized for last season was his conservatism and predictability, especially on offense. This could have been part Fox, part Mike McCoy, but there was never a doubt that the Broncos head coach had the final say. If Fox opened up his offense the way it should have been used, then the Broncos might never get into a rut over their win streak and possibly advance past the Ravens.
Plus, if Fox decides to make a go of it with 30 seconds left on the clock, maybe fans would have a better taste in their mouths today. How will this all translate into a better secondary? Theory is spread from the top down. Executive vice president of football operations John Elway is doing all he can to provide a championship roster for this coaching staff. If Fox can translate the winning attitude to the field, then the rest of the coaching staff and players will continue the trend.
Attitude is contagious, and quite possibly the routine coaching of Fox turned the whole roster into more of a machine than a champion. The young players who make up two-thirds of the Broncos secondary need a tough coach that can challenge them every Sunday, not just when the need happens to arise. Fox needs to mix it up, be unpredictable and not allow his coaches and players to be too comfortable. This will lead to less mistakes and more attention to detail when trying to keep up with changing times. The challenge that Fox gives his players will lead them to the promised land in New York in 2014.
Bailey is Still a Champ
We sometimes forget that CB Champ Bailey is a 12 time Pro Bowler, in his 15th season in the NFL and 10th with the Broncos, and has also been named by the NFL Network as the 48th best player in the league. Bailey was part of the league's best cornerback tandem with Chris Harris, allowing just over 900 yards to opposing receivers in 2012. He also stayed on the field for all 16 games of the regular season and the Broncos playoff game against the Ravens.
Let me just say this. It was one bad half, everyone. There is no reason to scorn, ridicule or get rid of probably the best corner this franchise has ever seen. Bailey will have a half like that from time to time, but in the grand scheme of things, there may not be a better option out there. Have faith that Bailey is still a champ and will get it done on the field more often than not. Plus, at the first sign of trouble in a playoff game, Jack Del Rio and Fox will get together and mix it up a bit to get him more help.
The addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will allow Del Rio to spread his secondary out and utilize Harris on the inside of his nickel package as well. The help that Champ gets will undoubtedly make the Broncos secondary more stout in all areas.
Harris is One of the Better Corners in the NFL
The next time we see Chris Harris laying on the turf, we hope it will be shedding tears that the Broncos just won a Super Bowl. As I mentioned in the last slide, Harris and Bailey were incredible last year. Harris recorded 12 passes deflected, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions and two of those run back for touchdowns. The second year player took a huge leap from his rookie season, proving he belonged on the field when Tracy Porter left with injury early in the season.
With another year under his belt, it won't be long before Harris is the primary corner taking over Bailey's spot. Last season was only the beginning for this young player and 2013 will solidify him in the class of "shut down" corner. While he may not be a Darrelle Revis, Harris is the next best thing and he will make the Denver secondary much better as long as he keeps his health. I hope Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman is not reading this. I may have just started a Twitter war!
Moore Will Learn From His One Mistake
I am not going to harp on the play. I will not even make another mention of it. We have seen and heard enough from all angles and outlets. I will say this, however. Rahim Moore, as mentioned in the opening slide was ranked the tenth best safety in the NFL by ProFootballFocus.com. That translates to 13th best against the pass and 17th best against the run. For a second year player, that is quite an accomplishment.
I think it would be safe to assume that Moore will never allow that kind of a play to happen to him again. He will gain his angle, secure his area and make sure with all of his being that another receiver does not get behind him with a game on the line. I would venture a guess that Del Rio and Fox would have no problem trusting Moore in the future. I just hope most fans begin to have that kind of faith in one of the best young players in the NFL.
Elway Will Make Another Move
We all recognize there is one scapegoat that led the Broncos to a playoff loss to the Ravens, and that would be the secondary. While Moore and Adams have their security at the present time, the unfortunate arrest of Quinton Carter, the inexperience of Duke Ihenacho and the sporadic nature of David Bruton's play leaves the safety position very thin.
Elway will have to make a move one way or the other either through the draft or free agency. I look for him to make a splash with a player like Kerry Rhodes or even Charles Woodson, who would bring experience, championship mettle and a desire to make one more run. Elway will also be able to utilize the draft for the future, but bringing in a player like Woodson or Rhodes would solidify the Broncos backfield and help be a better force against the run.
One thing is for certain. The Broncos are built for now, not three years for now. Elway has this team poised and believing that they can get to the next level. In order to do that, however, the players must eliminate their mental mistakes and capitalize on their ability. With one more move by Elway at safety, this will be a vastly improved secondary than what we witnessed on Jan. 12.