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Putting the System to the Test

Posted Sep 8, 2011

Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen talks about implementing a new scheme; Head Coach John Fox names captains.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen has had about six weeks to implement an entirely new system with the Denver Broncos defense, and on Monday night, he'll get his first chance to unveil it with the starters for the entire game.

Allen's 4-3 base package is all about attacking and playing fast and physical. To do this, he said that while there are various formations and schemes, one thing remains consistent: simplicity.

"I think the same philosophy that we've had is we're going to try to keep it as simple as we can and get the guys to play fast," Allen said. "Now that doesn't mean you just line up in the same thing every time, but the speed of the game is a lot faster. You've got to be a lot quicker at thinking on your feet, and you've got to be able to adapt to what the offense is doing."

Allen said he wants the adaptation his players make to be instinctive, so that they immediately react to what is happening in front of them instead of processing it and slowing their game down. He thinks the players have responded well to his style.

"I think they've adapted well," Allen said. "We preach 'Eyes are the key,' and we've got to put our eyes in the right spot. If we look right, we'll do right. It's really as simple as that, and that's just us as a defense and as a coaching staff making sure we're a disciplined team."

One key focus of Allen's defense his is attention to creating turnovers, or as he calls them, takeaways. As secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints, his unit had 22 interceptions in 2009, including a league-high six returned for touchdowns.

The Broncos had three takeaways in the preseason -- three interceptions -- and Allen said teaching how to create takeaways is about more than just practicing it.

"I think you have to live it," Allen said. "I think you have to preach it every day and you have to live it. I've been a part of staffs that have been way up there in taking the ball away and I've been a part of staffs that haven't been. The difference is that you live it day-in and day-out. Those things don't just happen by luck, you make them happen. That's why we call them takeaways instead of turnovers."

Allen likes how his defense has developed and sees bright things in the Broncos future.

"I feel really good about what we're doing defensively," Allen said. "I think our guys feel really good about it, and they have a good understanding. We've put a lot of stuff in, and we've got a lot of multiple looks, but at the end of the day, we've worked a lot at this stuff, and I think our guys feel pretty good about it."

FOX NAMES CAPTAINS

Head Coach John Fox announced the Broncos' season-long captains Thursday. Fox said the captains were picked by a team vote. Representing the Broncos each game will be: safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Champ Bailey on defense; quarterback Kyle Orton and guard Chris Kuper on offense; and Wesley Woodyard on special teams.

Fox also said that the team will have a sixth captain each week, which the coaching staff will pick on a game-by-game basis. This week, the staff selected defensive end Elvis Dumervil as captain. Monday's game will be Dumervil's first since 2009 as he sat out last year after tearing his pectoral tendon in training camp.

"I think we had a lot of votes for captains, which I think is a good start," Fox said. "Obviously the guys that I mentioned had the most votes, and I think they're important, especially when the team votes for them."

"They show leadership through good times and bad."