And according to Knighton, Mincey’s transition to making an impact on the field should move quickly, as well.
“He fits in already,” Knighton said of the defensive end who signed with the Broncos on Tuesday. “Mincey has a personality where it doesn’t matter where he is, he’s going to be heard. It feels like he’s been here the whole season already.”
To say that Knighton is familiar with Mincey might be an understatement – the two played alongside one another in Jacksonville from 2009-12 – and Knighton noted that he expects their preexisting chemistry to translate well under Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio’s direction, a man both also played under with the Jaguars.
“We’ve played together a lot in Jacksonville,” he said. “In Jacksonville it was the same – I played on the right side a lot and he played on the right side a lot so we’re familiar with each other. Once you play with a guy for so long, it comes back quick. In practice this week we’ve been using the communication we’ve used in years past. Things are moving along quick.”
Having that experience playing under Del Rio, Knighton noted, should help accelerate Mincey’s transition to being up to speed with the defense.
“He’s played for Jack before and the calls are the same,” Knighton said. “You just have to dig into the memory bank and get the hang of things again. He’ll pick it up fast. He’s played a lot of football and we do some things similar to what they still did in Jacksonville. If he’s out there, I expect him to make plays and I believe in him.”
For Del Rio, the defensive end’s intensity on the field was a key factor in bringing Mincey to Denver late in the season.
“The fact that he’s a hard-charging guy, effort-filled guy – and that he would bring that and play hard every snap mentality to the team,” Del Rio said regarding why the Broncos signed Mincey.
Mincey brings 20 career sacks to the Broncos – including a career-high eight in 2011, Del Rio’s final season as head coach in Jacksonville – and Del Rio acknowledged the experience that the defensive end also brings to the table.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to acquire a veteran player at this point in the season that can come in and help us get us some snaps and obviously for him to find himself on a team that’s going to be alive in the postseason,” Del Rio said.
In the immediate future, Knighton noted that Mincey’s role could be limited – but he expects Mincey’s energy and experience to ultimately benefit a defensive line that has been without defensive tackle
“I think that, because he won’t come in right away and play 50 plays, he’ll probably build each week,” Knighton said. “If he comes in and plays 10 to 15 plays this week – me knowing him – he’s going to go as hard as he can and go out there and make an impact. He brings energy to the group and that’s something we were missing a little bit I think with Vick being out and we need that.”
Mincey’s opportunity to contribute could come as early as this week’s game in Houston.
“It’s possible, yeah,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see how the week goes and how he retains everything and make a decision as we get close to the game.
And if Mincey does get the call?
“He’ll be ready,” Knighton said. “He’ll be ready.”