On Now
Coming Up
  • Thu., Oct. 23, 2014 3:00 PM - 6:30 PM MDT Orange Night Ride

    The year's Orange Ride is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2014 with a start time of 4:30 p.m. from the Denver City and County Building. We have put together a list of activities leading up to that night's Broncos game against San Diego. We hope to see you there!
    3-4 p.m. Pregame fan rally in front of Denver City and County Building
    4:30 p.m. Ride departs Denver City and County Building to Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    5:00 p.m. Ride arrives at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    5-6 p.m. Orange Ride pregame tailgate party at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    6:00 p.m. Orange Ride departs stadium to Tavern Downtown to watch the Broncos game
    6:25 p.m. Watch the Broncos game while enjoying Tavern Downtown’s food and drink specials
    And don't forget that the Broncos and Denver B-cycle have teamed up to offer a new bike valet service for home games for the 2014 season, giving fans a place to park their bike in a secure place staffed by B-cycle volunteers!
  • 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.
  • Sat., Oct. 25, 2014 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM MDT Broncos Bunch Trick-or-Treat

    Broncos Bunch Trick-or-Treat

    Sign up at http://broncosbunch.com

  • 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.
  • Sun., Nov. 09, 2014 2:05 PM MST Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders The Denver Broncos face their AFC West foe Oakland Raiders on the road. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Sun., Nov. 16, 2014 11:00 AM MST Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams The Denver Broncos face the St. Louis Rams on the road at 11 a.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Sun., Nov. 23, 2014 2:25 PM MST Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins The Denver Broncos take on the AFC East Miami Dolphins. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Tue., Nov. 25, 2014 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM MST Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution Denver Rescue Mission Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution
  • Sun., Nov. 30, 2014 6:30 PM MST Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs The Denver Broncos travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face AFC West foe the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
  • Sun., Dec. 07, 2014 2:05 PM MST Play 60/Fuel Up to Play 60 Tribute Game Play 60/Fuel Up to Play 60 tribute game. Teams will be recognized before the team's game against the Buffalo Bills.

News & Blogs

Print
RSS

Broncos Position Breakdown: Secondary

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Andrew Mason takes a closer look at the Broncos' defensive secondary.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Even in the throes of the frenzied week that began free agency, you couldn't overlook the Broncos' addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and what it said about the importance of building a deep, diverse secondary going forward.
 
First, there's Rodgers-Cromartie's frame; at 6-foot-2, he becomes the Broncos' tallest cornerback, and provides a physical presence they lacked last year, when no cornerbacks were taller than 6 feet. But the most important aspect of the Rodgers-Cromartie signing was how it reflects the modern NFL, where your third cornerback is a first-teamer. The 2012 playing-time distribution reflects this; the Broncos averaged 2.75 cornerbacks on the field for each play.
 
The notion of starting two cornerbacks and needing only four for a season is antiquated. Had the Broncos not received a breakout campaign from Chris Harris and a solid season from Tony Carter, their coverage efforts might have been sunk after Tracy Porter's seizure issues and slide down the depth chart. Even Omar Bolden, the No. 5 cornerback one year removed from a torn ACL, was forced into extensive action as a third cornerback in Week 16 after Porter's brief return to the lineup was scuttled by a concussion, while Carter was inactive to make room for Porter.
 
The fifth cornerback must be ready to play -- extensively so -- if injuries strike, and all of the top four will be asked to contribute. Harris, Carter, Porter and Champ Bailey each played at least 300 snaps in 2012; this year, Bailey, Harris and Rodgers-Cromartie should lead the way in playing time. Whether Harris or Rodgers-Cromartie ends up as the "starter" is relatively irrelevant; both are likely to play at least 70 percent of the snaps, assuming they stay healthy.
 
Rodgers-Cromartie got only a one-year contract -- the same length as the one given in 2012 to Porter, another veteran hitting free agency for the first time. The deal safeguards the Broncos in the event Rodgers-Cromartie doesn't work out, but if he plays up to his potential after an up-and-down four seasons in Arizona and Philadelphia, he might be a part of the long-term solution.
 
So could Harris, if he continues his trend of steady play with few mistakes. According to Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks amassed a piddling 68.2 rating when throwing in his direction last year -- comparable with the 67.3 rating on passes thrown at Bailey. He also scored as many touchdowns (two) as he allowed. Harris, like Rodgers-Cromartie, has a contract that expires after this year.
 
But with Bailey's experience, the potential for a move to safety in 2014 -- also the final year of Bailey's current contract -- and the expiring contracts of Harris and Rodgers-Cromartie, it would surprise no one if the Broncos pick a cornerback early in the draft -- even though they're counting on improvement from Carter and Bolden.

Safety is a different matter, and if the Broncos don't add one in the draft, the competition will resemble the start of 2012 training camp -- which was before the Broncos added Jim Leonhard to bolster the depth.
 
When camp began, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter and Mike Adams split the first-team snaps, just as they had through offseason work. It looked as though the three-way battle for two starting spots would persist, but then Carter hurt his hamstring, which compounded with the knee discomfort he'd felt in the offseason to sideline him. By the time he'd returned, Adams and Moore were entrenched, and Carter's knee never improved, necessitating microfracture surgery that cost him most of his second year but should have him back for OTAs.
 
Moore's last-minute-of-regulation misplay on Joe Flacco's 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones in the divisional playoff loss was disheartening to himself, the Broncos and their fans, but doesn't overshadow the massive improvement he showed last year. He buried all notions of being a bust, reversing course from a rookie season in which he was tentative at some junctures, over-aggressive at others and was benched for Carter at midseason.
 
If Carter has recovered, he could push for playing time, but it would appear he's more likely to scrap with the veteran Adams for a starting slot.
 
The Broncos could elect to use a draft pick bolster their depth, but with David Bruton signed to a three-year deal to back up and lead the special teams and Duke Ihenacho in a similar role as the fifth safety, the depth chart appears solid. Bruton's previous starting experience, straight-ahead speed and comfort with his role makes him an ideal relief option.

Facebook Comments

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