ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Defense end Robert Ayers has an interesting goal in mind for offseason workouts. He wants to get meaner. But how?
"Just look uglier," he laughed.
Don't let him fool you, though. The former Tennessee Volunteer has a much more realistic and structured plan to become a better and "meaner" player by the start of the new season. Ayers said he focuses on one particular technique at each practice until training camp.
"For example, today I wanted to work on lateral quickness and I wanted to work on spin moves," Ayers said after Friday's practice. "Yesterday was dipping and each day I try to work something specific. It could be footwork, whatever. So that's just my mindset on what I want to accomplish each day and how to keep getting better."
Stamina is another element of Ayers' game that he hopes to improve this summer. As he spoke to media at Dove Valley, he was admittedly drained.
"I literally walked from the toughest part of our workout straight to here," Ayers said. "But if I'm tired here, hopefully it can translate to I'm not tired in the game. That's our goal. We don't ever want to get tired. Whether it's a 20-play drive or whatever, that's what you want to be able to do. And you want to be able to finish in the fourth quarter."
If all goes according to plan, new Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio will have plenty of fresh legs and lungs to sub in for Ayers if and when he is winded. The Broncos added two defensive lineman to the roster in this year's draft - former Cincinnati Bearcat Derek Wolfe in the second round and former Volunteer Malik Jackson in the fifth.
Ayers spoke highly of the fellow Tennessee alum.
"Even just so far, he shows a lot of strength. He shows he can play multiple positions," he said. "Kind of like myself, he can do it all. That's the reason why we drafted him, because he can do everything. He can rush from end, he can play inside. He can do a lot of things and that's going to be a tremendous asset for us going forward."
"It definitely makes us better as a unit," he continued. "It gives us depth. It gives us a lot of guys that can come in and do a lot of things, a lot of versatility. It's going to make this team better, specifically the defensive front. We have a lot of guys that can play multiple things."
In addition to the 2012 draftees, the Broncos also brought in defensive tackle Justin Bannan, an 11-year veteran who had a one year stint with Denver in 2010. Coming off a career high in sacks (3) and starts (13), the fourth-year player said he feels secure with his place on the depth chart even with the new company. Instead of checking his rearview mirror, Ayers focuses on catching up to the two Pro Bowlers in the Broncos' front seven.
"I'm confident in myself," Ayers said. "That's not something I'm thinking about. My goal is to get to Von [Miller] and Elvis [Dumervil's] level. I'm not thinking about anybody behind me. I'm worried about improving and becoming the best. That's all I think about."
To try and reach that level of play, he'll stick to the strict and organized blueprint he's drawn up in his mind for the remainder of the summer. Ayers not only has a separate focus for each practice as well as objectives to accomplish by the start of the season - he also knows where he wants to be when training camp kicks off in late July.
"Hopefully we can be technically sound," Ayers said. "Hopefully I'll know my strengths, my weaknesses, and my go-to moves."
That way, with his moves at the line of scrimmage perfected and fatigue less of an issue, tackling the football can become the focus.
"The physical part will come," Ayers said. "When training camp comes, we'll get the pads on."