For the Denver Broncos, the return of Champ Bailey is more than just getting a perennial pro bowl player and team leader back on the field. It is like switching from a set of spare to winter tires. You shouldn’t drive on the highway with the spares, but they will get you home. With winter tires, not only can you hit maximum speed, but you can also handle rough terrain. Bailey is a set of monster truck tires.
Throughout his illustrious 14 year career, Bailey has routinely locked down the opposing team’s best receiver one-on-one. Not only does this lock-down prowess essentially eliminate one of the opposing team’s best offensive players, but in doing so, it also allows the rest of the defense much more freedom to blitz and play aggressive converges designed to confuse quarterbacks and force turnovers. Moreover, Bailey may be the best cornerback in the league at reading offenses. As the veteran leader on defense, he routinely calls key audibles, tweaks his, as well as the other defenders play, and simply pumps everybody up.
Even though the Broncos’ defense has played well in the first three games of the season, with Bailey in the line up, the Broncos’ defense instantly becomes more dynamic – something that will be key playing against the Philadelphia Eagles and their high flying offense in week four.
Baliey has done it all as cornerback. He was a highly recruited high-school prospect, selected to two all-SEC teams as well as one all-American team, and he even won the Nagurski trophy (best collegiate defensive player) at the University of Georgia. After graduating, he was a top-10 draft pick and has since recorded 52 interceptions (26th all-time), been the defensive back of the year twice, and elected to 12 pro bowls (an NFL record for his position). Nevertheless, despite his name, Bailey never won a National Championship while at Georgia, and he has yet to win a Super Bowl.
After the disappointing end to last season, and the offense’s incredibly hot start to this season, you know Bailey is anxious to get back on the field and back to contributing. With only so many more chances for him to win a Super Bowl, there is little doubt that Bailey will be in top form and having this defense play at championship caliber level when he returns this weekend.
Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24