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Helmets Off: David Bruton

Posted Nov 18, 2010

In this week's Helmets Off, David Bruton talks about preparing to keep Darren Sproles in check on special teams this Monday, playing under special teams coordinator Mike Priefer and whether he's the fastest player on the team.

On the verge of a second consecutive matchup with an AFC West rival, Head Coach Josh McDaniels said special teams could play a big role come Monday night against the San Diego Chargers.

"They hurt us significantly last year in the kicking game in our first game with (Darren) Sproles, and we had a couple plays against them, too," McDaniels said. "The special teams have factored into our games with them, played a big role, and I'm sure it will be no different this week."

With that in mind, DenverBroncos.com sat down with special teams standout David Bruton to discuss the challenges San Diego presents on special teams, what last week's win did for the locker room and why special teams is so important to him.

What did last week's win do for the locker room?
"I think it just helped boost morale. Nobody was hanging their head or anything, but it just made evident that we can put three phases together and play a complete game, which definitely bodes well confidence-wise within your team, the chemistry and everything like that."

Is a big divisional game against San Diego this week even bigger since it's on Monday night?
"Monday Night Football, everybody loves being on that big stage. Everybody gets to see that game. But at the same time, we can't take any game lightly. We've got to take every one one game at a time, like it's our last, because we didn't get off to a very hot start and we've got an uphill battle."

What problems does Darren Sproles present on special teams?
"Every time he touches the ball it's a potential to be a big play. We've definitely got to break down, wrap him up, corral him, get five, six, seven hats to the ball every time he gets it. He's shown the ability to make a big play throughout his whole career, and that's special teams, offense -- no matter where he's at."

On the other side, San Diego has had a few punts blocked this season. Does it feel like special teams could be the difference-maker on Monday?
"Special teams could be a game-changer any week. But they've had problems with certain units, their punt team has had a few blocked punts, so whenever we get the opportunity to get a big return, block a kick, block a punt, stop Sproles inside the 20 on a kickoff, whatever it is we can do, we've got to be able to capitalize on that."

It seems like you've nearly blocked a couple punts in the past few weeks -- does it feel that way to you?
"Yeah, I'm tired of being close (laughs)."

Even in college you were regarded as a top special teams player. Why is that unit so important to you?
"It gave me an opportunity to play as a freshman, and it's also given me an opportunity to play here in the NFL and stay on the team for the past two years. It's a pride thing. Just go out there and be confident. And it's only one play, so you give it all you've got for that one play. Of course the collisions are a lot bigger, but you give it all you got for that one play. There's been a lot of guys around this league that have stayed around for a long time on special teams, then got their chance to start and excelled, like Mario (Haggan). He came out and had three sacks this last game and has been a great player since I've known him."

Does this team have a lot of guys who take pride in special teams?
"Everybody puts forth their best effort, always attentive in meetings, attention to detail out there on the practice field. Even on the sidelines we try to correct little things that may have happened on that play. We're coaching as well as with Prief (Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer)."

What's is Mike Priefer like as a coach?
"He knows his stuff. Everything under the sun, he knows about special teams. A very smart guy, a very enthusiastic guy -- energetic. It's nice to have that as a special teams coach instead of a guy who is real laid-back and nonchalant about things. It's nice to have a fiery coach out there to help get you hype, and we feed off that -- me, Wood (Wesley Woodyard), D-Mac (Darcel McBath) and Joe Mays."

Is it tough to balance focusing on special teams and being ready to step in at any moment on defense?
"No, I'm always equally prepared. I take my notes seriously, the meetings seriously, so I feel if things do happen -- you're potentially one or two plays away from being back out there in the fire, and you've got to be ready to perform."

With the way you make your way down the field to make special teams tackles, are you the fastest guy on the team?
"Yeah, yeah, I am. I had to scan around real quick, but yeah.*"

*Nate Jones took offense to this answer.