ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Now seven weeks into the 2013 campaign, nearly all of the defensive pieces are in place.
Cornerback Champ Bailey is healthy. Linebacker Von Miller is back. Linebacker Shaun Phillips fully participated in practice Thursday and Robert Ayers and Wesley Woodyard were limited after sitting out last week.
"It's good," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "It's good to have everybody back working."
The available personnel, Del Rio said, doesn't change the way the team prepares – the only difference is the numbers on the field come Sunday.
"The difference is who's going to do it and what their capabilities are and how they mesh together and all of that. It doesn't matter who's playing – we're still going to work the same kind of schedule and go through the same kind of grind, but obviously when you have your better players out there you expect to play even better.
"As far as defense I feel like we got a good group of guys. We're going to be better as we go through the year. Some of the places where we're not playing so well now right now I feel very confident we'll continue to grow and play good defense as we go down the road here."
CATCHING THE COLTS
The next stop on the road for the Broncos is in Indianapolis where they will face the eighth-best rushing attack in the NFL and a young quarterback with the ability to extend plays with his legs.
Andrew Luck, the Colts' first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, set the NFL record for passing yards and 300-yard games by a rookie as he took the Colts to the playoffs.
"He's a good player," Del Rio said. "He's done some good things. He's not perfect - nobody is. He is a good football player. Kind of appreciate the way he conducts. I feel like he is a team guy that works hard and tries to be that good teammate. From a distance anyway that's something that you appreciate."
Del Rio added that like any mobile quarterback, the game plan has to include ways to "keep him corralled." Del Rio also called him a tough guy and even though he looks to throw first he's got the ability to run when he wants to. Luck has rushed 24 times this year for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
But Luck is not the only offensive weapon the Colts have.
"It's a good group," Del Rio said. "I think they've got a really good power running game that you need to be able to stop. I think they got some really talented skill people that can do some things in space – got speed to beat you over the top. They've got one of the great wide receivers in Reggie Wayne over the last decade who's been tremendously explosive and productive in each of the last 12 or 13 years, whatever it is -- have a lot of respect for him.
"They've got other guys that are very capable – their power run game, a good young quarterback (and) talent outside - it's a good group."