All the press has rightfully been about Peyton Manning with his record performance last night against the Baltimore Ravens. Seven touchdowns and 462 yards passing is obviously nothing to sneeze at. Manning was sensational last night against the defending Super Bowl Champions. With that being said, did anyone see those two inside linebackers for the Denver Broncos last night?
I personally thought the Broncos linebacking corps would suffer with the loss of long time leader D.J Williams who signed with the Chicago Bears, but after last night’s game, I can concede that I was incorrect. Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan are both Kentucky football products that displayed the kind of athleticism required to play at a high level in the SEC at the collegiate ranks. They were both all over the field, sideline-to-sideline suffocating the Ravens’ offense with their tenacity and effort.
They were particularly exceptional in coverage against Ray Rice, Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson, harassing them all over the field. Throughout the game, they were sure tacklers and closed on the ball with decisiveness, effectively eliminating Joe Flacco’s check down game and outlet options.
Woodyard and Trevathan displayed the kind of ability that is essential to play linebacker in the pass happy NFL. They are both linebackers who feel comfortable in space and feel confident in covering running backs and tight ends man to man at any juncture of the game.
Many people will look at the boneheaded play Trevathan made by letting the ball go before he crossed the goal line, but as a coach or fan, you have to feel confident in his ability to make that play in the first place. Obviously, he added insult to injury when Woodyard got hurt on that very play while a Ravens player was hustling to recover the fumble.
If I’m Richard Smith, the Broncos linebackers coach, I feel pretty good about the players I have at my disposal to coach and our chances going forward defensively with Woodyard and Trevathan patrolling the middle of the field.