ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --When Brian Dawkins visited practice on Sunday, the future Hall of Famer shared some words with second-year safety Rahim Moore.
The former Bronco didn't mince words. He gave it to him straight.
"He told me, 'Rahim, you're not a scary guy," Moore recalled. "You like to hit, but sometimes, you've got to know when to make the big hit.'"
In a uniform, Dawkins was a scary guy – but also a smart one.
"He's just telling me to work hard," Moore continued. "He said, 'Don't get discouraged,' and I didn't because it's life. You can't let anything beat you down."
And from that, Moore has built a mindset to take him through the rest of training camp and into the regular season. He knows he's not perfect and there will be mistakes. But with mistakes comes growth.
"The thing is this: no matter how many tackles you make, you're going to miss some," said Moore, who started the first five games last year as a rookie and then two of the final 13. "It's like a receiver dropping the ball, a quarterback missing a play, dropping a pick -- nobody's perfect. You just work on it. (It's as) simple as that."
Is there anyone more suited to teach a young safety how to tackle than Dawkins? Unlikely. But – there may be an equivalent, another former Broncos safety potentially headed from Denver to Canton, stopping along the way to pass on some wisdom to the young Moore. His name is John Lynch.
"I watched him growing up," Moore said. "Me and John Lynch, we always stay in contact. I always ask him, 'What should I work on? What did you do after your rookie year?' He's been a good mentor to me."
Moore's mentality heading into 2012 is now a blend of what he's taken from two of the best safeties to ever don a Broncos uniform.
"(Lynch) told us to not be monotonous," Moore said. "Max out in everything you do. Take advantage of every opportunity."
In addition to the added knowledge, Moore has already showcased his ability to make the big tackle. Ask any of the 4,000-plus fans that attended Monday morning's practice.
As quarterback Peyton Manning floated a ball to running back Lance Ball on a sideline route, Moore came in hard with a shoulder-first hit on Ball, separating the player from the football. The hit was on the aggressive side for training camp, so Moore helped his teammate off the ground and made sure there was no harm done.
Moore said after practice that he "didn't mean to" lay such a hit on Ball, but his instincts made it "automatic." Those are the type of instincts Broncos coaches are looking to see out of Moore this year, and the type of instincts Dawkins and Lynch have preached to him.
"When an opportunity comes, you've got to hit on the rise, wrap, follow through," Moore said.
If Moore takes the advice of Dawkins and Lynch and instills it into his game, he believes he could not only become a "scary" safety, but be an intricate part of a scary team.
"This year I'm ready," Moore said. "I'm hungry. It's been a long, good offseason for me."
"It's going to be an exciting year for us."