The Denver Broncos had quite a scare on Wednesday as starting linebacker Danny Trevathan was carted off the field during practice with an apparent knee injury. An MRI later revealed no significant damage and the team expressed optimism that Trevathan would be available for Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. That is extremely fortunate news for a Broncos’ defense looking to keep Denver undefeated in Week 5.
So far this season, Trevathan has been a serious cog in the defensive machine for Jack Del Rio this season with the second most tackles on the team (30). He has been crucial to how the Broncos have defended the pass this season, often drawing coverage of tight ends and running backs in man coverage. His ability to shut down the check-down option for opposing quarterbacks has led to some big plays for the Broncos’ defense and helped them coast to their 4-0 record.
That role will take on even more importance this week when Denver lines up against Dallas. Tony Romo loves to use his tight ends and running backs, Jason Witten in particular, to routinely move the chains. Through four games, 46.4 percent of Romo’s passes have gone to a tight end or running back, in fact, which makes the ability to cover those underneath receivers even more important.
If Trevathan is limited on Sunday, the Broncos would use a variety of defensive alignments and coverage schemes to make up for the loss with third-year linebacker Steven Johnson in line to take the majority of the snaps in the base defense. Del Rio would like to avoid that scenario and continue to rely on the speed and athleticism of Trevathan to make plays in coverage, so you can bet that the Broncos will be focusing on getting him healthy and back onto the field.
There will obviously be some leeway for the defense with Peyton Manning slinging in on the other side of the ball, but Del Rio and Broncos’ defense takes pride in being able to match up with and shut down an opposing offenses. Trevathan has been a major part of that this season and will continue to be relied on to hold down his spot in the starting defense. So having his apparent ugly injury today turn into little more than a few days of limited practice is a major break for Denver as they make a run towards the Super Bowl at season’s end.