"Losing Elvis -- it's not fun for anybody, it's not fun for me, it's not fun for this team, it's not fun for this defense," said defensive lineman
Added Woodyard: "I'll miss Elvis, but he's going to be doing his own thing in Baltimore ... Things happen. I talked to Doom a lot throughout the offseason, and me and him talk, we're still friends. He's excited about new opportunities, and so are we."
Someone will get those sacks and forced fumbles -- and it won't just be
That's why it was appropriate that Wolfe and linebacker
But if you're drawing a Venn diagram of Wolfe, Woodyard and the Dumervil void they'll assume, there's plenty of crossover. Woodyard had five sacks last year from his weakside linebacker spot and could get more blitz opportunities. The fiery Wolfe can become an emotional touchstone who rallies his fellow defensive lineman.
"Losing Elvis like that kind of opens up the door for people to step up and be a leader, so I'm trying to earn that respect and kind of be that guy," Wolfe said. "That's the way I'm looking at it."
Yet both Wolfe and Woodyard are looking beyond themselves to replace Dumervil.
"This year, guys like
Wolfe sees Ayers as a leadership model. Ayers earned respect last year by handling his demotion from the first team last preseason without complaint -- and then maximizing his chances by playing arguably he best game of his career at Carolina in Week 10, posting five tackles and a sack, when Dumervil was injured and missed the last three quarters.
"I've already looked up to him for advice," Wolfe said. "Rob, he's a great guy, he's very mature in the way he handles things, so you know I think he's doing a great job. Already in workouts he's been pretty vocal, hasn't been slacking."
With the draft next week and free agency still open until the summer, Denver might not be done adding players to fill Dumervil's void. But they'll likely be supplements to Woodyard, Wolfe and Ayers, the core that's already on hand.