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Offense vs. Defense

Posted Jul 28, 2012

Training camp brings the entire team closer together. But that doesn't mean the defense isn't trying to prove its dominance over the offense -- and vice versa.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Across the NFL, training camp is the time when teams are built.

Competition helps define the roster, and through the sweat and hard work, players get to know one another on and off the field.

It's no different in Denver.

“We have a tight group," defensive end Elvis Dumervil said. "We spend all day with each other. You have no choice, every time you look around a guy is next to you. That’s good. That’s good camaraderie for the team. We just build that brotherhood.”

But as the pads come on, everything is taken up a notch.

“Everything is fine when you’re doing those walkthroughs and everything -- everyone is buddy-buddy," defensive tackle Mitch Unrein said. "But once you actually start hitting and everything, that really builds us as a team."

Still, there's a clear dividing line between both sides of the ball.

The offense is trying to get the best of the defense every day in practice, and vice versa.

“As of right now, we don’t like those guys," Dumervil said of the offense. "Those guys are good. Give them credit. They’re going to make us better. It’s who we have to compete with. That will be good for us.”

Saturday morning's practice seemed to belong to the offense.

Wide receiver Eric Decker made catch after catch, and quarterback Peyton Manning was decisive and accurate.

Dumervil noticed.

“Me and Peyton are not friends right now," he smiled. "He has our offense in sync and they’re moving pretty fast. We just have to keep working."

Unrein said he occasionally finds himself in awe of the throws Manning can make, but he knows it's only going to be a benefit to the defense -- and the squad as a whole -- when the season rolls around.

"It’s great to have him on our team," he said. "He’s going to make our whole defense better. Even with pass-rushing and things like that, because you have to beat a guy quick in order to get to him.”

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley said that the offense still has plenty of room to grow, and Decker cautioned that a good day of practice does not mean the offense is where it needs to be.

“I don’t think one day can tell a lot," Eric Decker said. "You have to be consistent. We have to do this consistently on a day-to-day basis. That will tell what we can do going forward. I think we did some good things today, but we have to build on that going forward.”

And as the offense grows, the defense will grow with it. After all, Dumervil has no intention of being on the wrong end of a successful practice every day of training camp.

“They (the offense) did well," Dumervil said. "That means we have to do better, which we will."