On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 27, 2018 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
  • Tue., Feb. 27, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Mon., Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs may negotiate with unrestricted free agents March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
  • Wed., Mar. 14, 2018 2:00 PM MDT 2018 league year and free agency period begin

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 25, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meetings begin March 25-28: Annual League Meetings, Orlando, Florida.
  • Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 6:00 PM MDT 2018 NFL Draft begins April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Print
RSS

Notebook: Del Rio Talks Defense, Cowboys

Posted Oct 3, 2013

On Thursday, Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio discussed the successes of undrafted and late-round players on his defense, as well as the Cowboys offense.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Scan across Jack Del Rio’s defense and you’ll quickly notice an entire contingent of key contributors who were either undrafted or were selected at the back end of the NFL Draft.

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard, cornerback Chris Harris, safety Duke Ihenacho, defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, defensive end Malik Jackson, linebacker Danny Trevathan, linebacker Steven Johnson – the list of defensive playmakers on the Broncos who fit the criteria seems to stretch on and on.

And in his Thursday press conference, the defensive coordinator addressed the core of once-hidden talent that has flourished with the Broncos, noting that his expectations for players don’t concern the limits that others have placed upon them. Instead, he takes into consideration the persistence, competitiveness, desire and resilience that players exhibit when they enter the league.

“I’ve been fortunate to be a part of this game for a number of years – playing and coaching – and you see people all the time that will come in and kind of peel labels off and exceed expectations,” Del Rio said. “I really don’t look to put a ceiling on a guy. Just let them come in here and fight every day and compete, work the right way, develop the skills, try to get a feel for what he does well and plug him in.”

For Del Rio, a telling characteristic that the many aforementioned players have exhibited is the ability to compete, day-in and day-out, with an insatiable drive to get better.

“I just want them to seek to achieve,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to be great. Just work at it. Pay the price and sacrifice and be all that you can be every day. When you approach it that way I think you look back and think ‘I’ve come a ways. I’ve accomplished some things.’”

Del Rio also circled mental toughness, adaptability and the ability to be an unselfish teammate as important traits.

“He has to come in believing in himself and then be willing to pay the price,” he said. “A lot of times, to be able to stay with it when it even when it doesn’t look good. ‘Coach didn’t look at me today, he doesn’t like me’ – whatever those things may be in your mind, be strong mentally. Don’t let that affect your willingness to go out every day and work with a great attitude.”

Del Rio Pleased with Trevathan, Johnson

When Trevathan went down with an apparent injury in practice on Wednesday, Johnson wasted little time in pronouncing his readiness to fill in for his teammate if necessary. 

And while Trevathan’s injury ultimately proved to be minor – he was back to full participation in practice on Thursday – Del Rio said that, in addition to being relieved about Trevathan’s status, he was pleased with Johnson’s eagerness to step onto the field as the proverbial ‘next man up.’

“That’s the mentality we want – it’s the next guy up. We look to create that kind of mentality,” Del Rio said. “We want guys to challenge each other all year – whether there is injury or not – to be prepared to play and understand we’ll get you in and utilize you. If you can help us we’re going to find ways to utilize you.”

Del Rio even had a little fun with the competitiveness his players exhibited.

“We even joked about it when Danny came back that Stevie was chomping at the bit ready to take his spot,” he said. “We want to have that attitude.”

Ultimately, Del Rio noted that the situation had a positive outcome in all aspects.

“Certainly we’re relieved that Danny is okay but it was good to see that our guys are ready to step up, step in and keep rolling,” he said.

‘Weapons’ on the Cowboys Offense

In sizing up the Dallas offense in preparation for Sunday’s game, Del Rio identified a slew of playmakers that suit up in Cowboys uniforms – including tight end Jason Witten, a favorite target of quarterback Tony Romo.

Witten has hauled in 21 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns this season, and Del Rio spoke highly about the level of excellence the tight end has exhibited not just this year, but throughout his whole career.

“He’s just everything you want in a tight end. He’s a big guy, athletic, great hands,” Del Rio said of the eight-time Pro Bowler. “He can block. He can catch. He can run. He’s a good football player. I remember being at Tennessee scouting some defensive guys way back when and saw him workout – all I could do is drool over him.”

“He’s been a good player for a long time.”

Del Rio also noted that he has been closely following the status of Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, who is uncertain for this week’s game.

“Absolutely,” Del Rio said. “We’re paying attention and we’re preparing for him. I think he’s a good player.”

Ultimately, it’s a Cowboy offense that Del Rio noted has no shortage of capable playmakers.

“They have some weapons – (RB DeMarco) Murray is a good runner, (WR) Dez Bryant, Miles – they’ve got some good talent,” he said. “They’re undefeated at home so we want to get in there and get after them and get a good win.”

Del Rio Addresses USC

Del Rio also commented on whether he had been contacted for the head coaching vacancy at USC.

“No. There is nothing to speak on that subject,” Del Rio said. “I’m really here to talk on the Cowboys and our preparation and getting ready for them.”