Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio says vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway got him every player on his wish list.
“I had a wish list. I said, you know, if I could make it happen it would be a dominant rush end, a strong safety that will come up and really strike fear in an offense and really be a tone-setter, and a premium corner,” Del Rio said, via the team’s website. “I said, that would be my wish list. There’s no way we’ll get that done, but I’d love to see that happen. Any way you can make that happen, Mr. Elway?
Elway and the Broncos signed pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib in the offseason.
“John pulled it off! You’ve got to be kidding me! That was outstanding! But no, it was a great collection,” Del Rio said. “Our offseason has been one where, as Coach Fox said, as a football team we want to improve. Every year you look to improve. We made a choice to go after a couple star players and made it happen. I’m not sure how we pulled it off, but that was a good get. And that was the beginning, because we obviously had the draft as well. But those free agents coming in here, they’re all mature guys, they’ve all kind of cut their teeth already, they’re all proven players in this league and they’re going to plug in real well for our defense.”
Del Rio discussed how he will use his new talent.
“When you have guys like DeMarcus (Ware) and Von (Miller), if you have just one, they can slide protection to that guy,” he said. “When you have two, it makes it very difficult to slide protection. And if you’re too busy fanning out to protect them both, then you’re vulnerable to things up the middle and other places. It gives you an opportunity to put more pressure on the offense. And then from a coverage standpoint, having a guy like Aqib (Talib), he’s a premium corner.
“He’s a guy that can go out and match up on the top wideout of any other team. So having that kind of guy on the roster allows you to then put a player of his caliber across from a talented wide receiver and not feel the need to provide a safety over the top all day.”
Del Rio’s defensive plan this season is to make every quarterback the Broncos face uncomfortable.
“The idea is to not let the quarterback get comfortable,” he said. “What helps a quarterback not be comfortable is to have corners that can cover and defensive ends that can rush. Then they make every design that you have look a lot better — that’s just the way it is. So good coaching goes hand-in-hand with good players, and then you can have great production. We expect to be a great defense.”