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Mile High Morning: Ejiro Evero leading Broncos' defense to success in first year as coordinator


The Lead

In a tough start to the Broncos' 2022 season, Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero has been a bright spot for Denver. 

As part of Andscape's season-long series exploring the NFL's lack of diversity in coaching and at the executive level, ESPN’s Jason Reid recently sat down with Evero to discuss his success as a first-time defensive coordinator. 

"Speak with Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero for just a few minutes, and a thought comes to mind: This guy is going places," Reid wrote. 

Evero spent the last five seasons working under Sean McVay as a position coach with the Rams, winning a Super Bowl with Los Angeles in 2021. Nathaniel Hackett, Evero's friend and college teammate at UC Davis, hired Evero to be his defensive coordinator after Hackett became the Broncos' head coach in 2022 — and this season, Denver boasts one of the strongest defensive units in the NFL. 

Reid noted that despite the offense's struggles, Evero has unwavering faith in Hackett's vision and ability to right the ship. 

"I truly believe in everything that we're doing here, starting with the head coach, and what we're gonna try to accomplish on offense," Evero told Reid. "And then defensively, we still feel like our best football is ahead of us. As good as things are right now, it's like, 'Hey, we could play a lot better.' That's our standard and our expectation." 

Evero was also part of the inaugural class of the NFL's accelerator program, which facilitates the rise of qualified minority employees in front-office management and coaching. Reid explained that this program intends to prepare participants to eventually become strong candidates for head coach and general manager positions. 

The Broncos' defensive coordinator told Reid that he intends to pursue head coaching opportunities down the line, but his only focus at the moment is to help the Broncos find ways to win games. 

"Absolutely. I want to [become a head coach]," Evero told Reid. "But just like when I was a [quality control coach] and just like when I was a position coach aspiring to do more things, I know that the best way for me to move up is to kick [butt] at the job I'm doing at the moment. 

"I've got to focus in on this and nothing else. 'Cause the only thing that matters right now is finding a way to win for Broncos. Through that process, if your process is right in terms of being in the moment and being focused, all that other stuff will take care of itself."

Below the Fold

The Broncos' offense has dealt with a number of significant injuries this season, particularly at running back. Javonte Williams tore his ACL in Week 4 against the Raiders, and Mike Boone was placed on injured reserve ahead of the team's trip to London. Despite the injuries, Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten noted that the unit has no excuses — with the new players they've added, he expects the same standard from Denver's run game. 

"We're blessed to have [RB Devine Ozigbo] on the practice squad, going through the installations and all that and being with us," Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten said Thursday. "It's [a] next-man-up opportunity. You can't have excuses for situations that we're in right now. You just got to get those guys up to speed and put them in when they can help us out. It comes down to the execution, the rules and understanding everything. We limit those packages. They're pretty small for those guys." 

The Broncos signed veteran running back Marlon Mack off the 49ers' practice squad earlier in the week, and Outten expressed his excitement for what the new addition can bring to the room. 

"He's definitely a pro," Outten said. "He's been in a lot of schemes. He's been in the outside-zone world, and he's picking up things pretty well. I'm excited to see where he can go with it."

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