To say the Denver Broncos had a poor defense in 2010 is an understatement. It had its worst showing against the Oakland Raiders at home in a 59-14 loss. Darren McFadden destroyed the Broncos on the ground for 165 yards and three touchdowns. The entire rushing attack totaled 328 yards and five touchdowns.
Head coach John Fox returns the Broncos to a 4-3 defense with Dennis Allen as his defensive coordinator. What should we be looking for when the Broncos are on defense?
1. Can the defense stop the run?
Fox decided to fix the defensive line not through the draft but in free agency and trade. He brought in Ty Warren from the Patriots and Brodrick Bunkley from the Eagles in a trade. Marcus Thomas re-signed with the team. Now, only Bunkley is scheduled to play in the season opener, the other two being declared out. Ryan McBean and Mitch Unrein are the backups. Darren McFadden provides an early test.
2. Von Doom and Robert Ayers
The Broncos had trouble rushing the passer last season, having a league-low of 23. Losing Elvis Dumervil for the season hurt that, but he is back this season and playing on the defensive line. He'll play with No. 2 overall pick Von Miller, who showed a skill to get to the quarterback during the preseason. And can third-year player Robert Ayers finally impact the defense?
3. Is the secondary up to the task?
Champ Bailey, Andre Goodman and Brian Dawkins are all back in the secondary, but they are aging. Did Dawkins just have a bad season or is his time almost up? Rookie safety Rahim Moore is the other starting safety and has already put receivers on notice with his play. But behind them, there's concern. Cassius Vaughn, Jonathan Wilhite and rookie Quinton Carter are all there, but are they good enough when the time arises for them to play?