ENGLEWOOD, Colo.** – The Broncos defensive line looked to take a hit for the first part of the 2015 season when it was announced the defensive end Derek Wolfe was to sit out the first four games.
Immediately, fans and media alike began speculation over his replacement. When asked, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware had one idea of a player that stood out to him during the offseason: "I think one of the guys was Kenny Anunike."
Anunike, a second-year Bronco out of Duke that spent his rookie season sidelined due to an arm injury, has quickly become a front-runner to step up and impact the Broncos defensive line.
"He's a young guy," Ware continued. "[He] hurt his arm last year and he had a whole offseason to really get himself right, and I've seen how hungry he was coming into the minicamp. He was right there behind Wolfe and played on both sides, [against] both tackles in the three-four and he was actually out there with the ones sometimes making plays and doing well, so Kenny really stood out to a lot of guys. He's coming along really well."
With praise from his teammates and from Head Coach Gary Kubiak, Anunike is now focused on living up to that hype.
"It's tremendous," Anunike said. "But that just means I need to continue it. That's great, but I got to continue to believe that and I got to make sure that I implement everything that I'm learning from my coaches to help this team and get to the championship. That's our ultimate goal."
Anunike has been working closely with Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar and during the offseason and in training camp to work his aggressiveness, or as he says: "Kollar is bringing the dog out of me."
In addition to his work with Kollar, Kubiak has also supplied Anunike with guidance as he and the defense make adjustments this season with the defense transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment under the supervision of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
"The main thing that Coach Kubiak talked to me about [was] he said I got all the tools, everything is there," Anunike said. "[He said] just to hold weight, moving from a [4-3] to a 3-4 now. So, I've gained since last offseason … about 12 pounds, so I'm about 272 pounds now, 273. So that's pretty good weight. I'm holding down that three, holding down the four. I maintain my speed, I've gotten bigger, I've gotten stronger. I've gotten faster... To help make myself unstoppable."
Get a first look at photos from Day 2 of Broncos Training Camp.