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'He's been huge for us': Ejiro Evero prepping for 2022 season, setting tone as Broncos' new defensive coordinator

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The offseason is valuable for more than just the Broncos' players.

As Ejiro Evero begins his tenure as the Broncos' defensive coordinator, each day and each practice is an opportunity to install his defense and prepare himself for his first year as an NFL play caller.

"Just like players, I think it's important for coaches to practice what they're going to be doing on game day," Evero said Tuesday. "It's important for me, and that's what I'm taking these practices as, as examples to really get used to using the mic and communicating and not only just getting the call to the players on the huddle, but also giving them tips and [down and distance] reminders and things like that. I'm trying to hone my skills, as well."

Evero, who said he will call plays from the sideline, is in the midst of installing a scheme similar to the one the Broncos ran under Vic Fangio during the previous three seasons. While the terminology has changed, many of the principles will remain in place. And as he helps with the install, he's already left an impression on veteran safety Kareem Jackson.

"He's very vocal," Jackson said. "He's very detailed as well. I think defensively, I think that's huge for us and definitely for the younger guys, the detail in every aspect of the game. Just pointing out little things and getting guys to realize that. He's been huge for us just in these couple days we've been on the field. I think him preaching that and us kind of preaching the same thing, I think it will definitely help us."

Across the league, there's little doubt Evero will succeed in his first stint as an NFL defensive coordinator.

"He's got a great steadiness about him," Rams head coach Sean McVay said in March. "He's so smart, he's so self-assured, but he's a great collaborator. I think one of the things I really enjoyed watching with [Rams defensive coordinator] Raheem [Morris] and 'E' was their ability to work in coordination, figure out the best ways for our defense to be able to operate. He's got such a clear vision of what he wants it to look like. He's been around great coaches that he's been able to learn from and I'm really fired up for 'E' and I know he's going to do a great job. He's been somebody that I've worked with for such a long period of time, and you just watch the growth that he's had as a coach. He'll do a great job connecting and really help make guys better players. He'll be able to adjust and adapt accordingly — he'll do a great job for the Broncos."

One of the key elements of Evero's system is the team's pass rush, and he emphasized the importance of getting to the opposing quarterback.

"We're excited about a lot of the guys — [both] exterior [and] interior pass rush," Evero said. "At the end of the day, we've got to generate pressure. We've got to do it with individual efforts, but we've also got to do it with a team collective goal, the guys working together on the pass-rush games, being able to bring pressure and those types of things. We've got a lot of guys were counting on to get that done for us."

Evero and Co. will get plenty of practice in facing an elite offense as they go up against Russell Wilson and the Broncos' offense in practice.

"It's tremendous, because this Shanahan [offensive] scheme, it's going through the league, right?" Evero said. "… I think we're going to have one of the best run offenses in the league, and so practicing against that weekly and daily is going to be awesome. And then going against the quarterback, with all the keepers and stuff off of it, it's great work. And they're going to challenge us a lot with the formations, with the tempo and all those different types of things. It's going to be awesome in terms of getting us ready for the season."

Evero, though, said his unit cannot rely on Wilson and the team's offensive weapons to carry them to success.

"At the end of the day, winning football in the NFL's about winning as a team and winning collectively," Evero said. "And hey, maybe the offense is the strength of the team, but hey, the defense has got to be able to play off of that and the special teams has got to be able to play off of that. ... So obviously when you get a quarterback like the guy we have, it's going to open up opportunities, but at the end of the day, there's going to be times that we're going to have to come through, and that's important."

In the early days of the Broncos' 2022 preparation, Evero is making sure he's ready to meet that challenge.

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