On Now
Coming Up
  • Tue., Sep. 16, 2014 12:00 PM MDT Fuel Up to Play 60 For the Love of Play Assembly Fuel Up to Play 60 For the Love of Play Assembly.
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 2:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks The Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in the team's first road game of the 2014 season. The game will be televised on CBS.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Denver Broncos Pink Game The Denver Broncos annual Salute to Survivors halftime recognition, celebrating breast cancer survivors at the team's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Broncos vs. Cardinals The Broncos face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2:05 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on FOX.
  • Tue., Oct. 07, 2014 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM MDT Drive for Life XVII

    Bonfils Blood Center and the Denver Broncos work together on an annual Drive for Life event which is the largest single day blood drive in Colorado.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
    Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    Click here for more information about the 2014 DFL event.

    Learn more from Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and 9News' Cheryl Preheim about 2014 Drive for Life.

  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 11:00 AM MDT Denver Broncos at New York Jets The Denver Broncos travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the New York Jets on Oct. 12, 2014 at 11 a.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Tue., Oct. 14, 2014 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM MDT Hometown Huddle Broncos Hometown Huddle
  • Sun., Oct. 19, 2014 6:30 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers The Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
  • Thu., Oct. 23, 2014 6:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers The Denver Broncos take on AFC West opponent the San Diego Chargers on Thursady Night Football on NFL Network.
  • Sun., Nov. 02, 2014 2:25 PM MST Denver Broncos at New England Patriots The Denver Broncos travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch of the 2013 AFC Championship. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

News & Blogs

Print
RSS

Ayers Ready for Spotlight

Posted May 8, 2013

The starting right defensive end spot currently belongs to Robert Ayers. And the fifth-year veteran is working hard to seize the opportunity.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Robert Ayers knows it's his time.

The starting right defensive end role is his. Both Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and Head Coach John Fox have said as much.

"That was my mindset once I heard the news (of Elvis Dumervil's departure)," Ayers said Wednesday. "I knew it was an opportunity for me, and I'm looking forward to it. The fact that he says that doesn't make me relax or anything — it makes me hungry. Because I know there are a lot of expectations, and I have high expectations of myself. So I'm just looking forward to working hard and being ready to take advantage of it."

Entering his fifth NFL season -- a contract year -- Ayers believes he's ready for the chance.

For his first two years in the league, Ayers played outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense before moving back to his natural defensive end position with Fox's arrival in 2011. And while he showed flashes early in his career -- the longest fumble-return touchdown by a rookie in club history in 2009 and two sacks in the team's 2011 postseason win, to name a few -- he acknowledged that he isn't satisfied with his play. Yet.

"There's a lot that I feel like I should've done," he said. "Whether it be because of my maturity level or opportunity or whatever, point blank, period, I didn't do the things I wanted to do coming into this league. This year is an opportunity for me to try to get back on track to where I want to be. That's what I'm focusing on. This is a big year for me and a big year for this team and I'm looking forward to doing big things. That's all I'm really focusing on is this year, and the past four years are a lot of motivation."

On a conference call with season-ticket holders Tuesday, Elway reiterated that he has faith in Ayers' ability to step into the starting role after the lineman made "giant strides" in 2012. Ayers said he learned from what some would consider a demotion last season, when he played just 30 percent of the team's defensive snaps as a rotational player. The man he'll be tasked with replacing, Dumervil, was in on 922 plays -- 86 percent of the defensive snaps.

While Ayers is in position to take the majority of those snaps, the team will likely spread them out between the fifth-year lineman and newcomers Shaun Phillips and Quanterus Smith, among others. But Ayers wants to make it as difficult as possible to take him out of the game.

"I do believe I can be a guy that gets a lot of sacks," said Ayers, who currently has 6.5 quarterback takedowns in his career. "Sacks are about opportunity, it's about working, it's about being in the right place a lot of times and it's about having great talent. I feel like I'm going to work, I feel like I have talent, and I feel like this year, for the first year in my career, I'm going to have an opportunity to be put in a premier position to where I can rush the passer."

A key to his success in 2013 will be his improved maturity. Ayers admitted he was put in a situation as a first-round pick that he "wasn't mature enough to handle." When he didn't find immediate success as a rookie, he let it carry over to his play on the field. Now he's in a better state, mentally. And his teammates have noticed.

"I've had a chance to be around Rob for his career, and I've seen him grow as a player and as a person each and every year," team captain Wesley Woodyard said earlier this offseason.

"Rob, he’s a great guy," Derek Wolfe added. "He’s very mature in the way he handles things. I think he’s doing a great job already in workouts — he’s been pretty vocal and hasn’t been slacking.”

With the chance to replace a three-time Pro Bowler placed in front of him, Ayers said he's not going to take it for granted. He has even spoken with Dumervil about the opportunity, and the Baltimore Raven told Ayers to "do (his) thing. You're more than ready."

"I feel like I know what I can do, I've just got to do it," Ayers said. "And there's no amount of work that I'm not willing to put in to get there."

Facebook Comments

Let us know your thoughts. Comment below through Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo accounts.