ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Much ado has been made about the Broncos' desire to quicken the pace offensively. They want to run more plays per game, get things moving faster.
But that faster tempo doesn't just affect the offensive players. It puts a little more stress on the players trying to defend that faster offense in practice as well.
Safety David Bruton noted that the defense showed some weakness last year against teams that played at a quick pace, specifically against the New England Patriots, who led the league in plays per game. But the chance to practice at a quicker pace, he said, has been helpful in the defense's preparation for this season.
"With our offense going at such a fast pace, we have no choice but to get it right or they're going to tear us up as well," Bruton said. "We definitely feel that it is beneficial. We definitely feel like we'll be ready for any team that comes out with a fast pace, and seeing as how that's a part of the NFL today, we're going to see it a lot."
Bruton explained that the tempo can disrupt the defense in several different ways. A faster tempo demands that the defense communicates more quickly and thoroughly as it leaves a smaller window for error.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said that the best way to combat those disruptions is to simply defend speed with speed.
"You have to think faster," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "It is helping me work and just understand the tempo and going out and playing fast. It has allowed me to play fast and be competitive."
Now into the third week of OTAs, the defense is adjusting to the pace of the offense and already noticing improvement.
"You see it week to week, day to day, in just how much more comfortable we are with it as a defense," Bruton said. "The first day, especially in the red zone, [the offense was] going fast pace and we didn't play as well as we wanted to. But the next day, we got used to it and got more comfortable with it.
"We just keep making strides to that fast-paced offense, in getting used to it, and playing a fast-paced defense."
The more comfortable the defense feels playing against its own offense, the more comfortable it will be when lined up against another team.
"There are a lot of things that can go wrong," Bruton said. "But as long as we have an idea and we know the signals so that we, as a defensive secondary, we can just look over and we know that we don't have to rely on the linebackers -- it's definitely going to do nothing but bode well for us."