The Broncos capped their offseason minicamp with another tough practice as players continue to try to prove themselves and coaches work to put in place the foundation for the season.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** With the conclusion of minicamp, Sylvester Williams has impressed coaches and teammates alike, taking ownership of the nose tackle position in the new 3-4 defense that's being installed.
Perhaps no one has been more impressed than Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, who said that Williams has really taken advantage of his offseason as he tries to prove himself to a new coaching staff.
"I think Sly has done an exceptional job," Phillips noted on Thursday following practice. "I feel real good about him. About four of the guys are really, I think they're moving forward really well. I think we've got a group that can come in and play and do some good things for us and Sly has been exceptional. I think he's really taken over the nose guard position. ... I'm really pleased with where he is."
The Broncos' offseason minicamp continued on Wednesday as the team had its second minicamp practice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak agreed, and said that Williams and the defensive line have responded well to the coaching of defensive line coach Bill Kollar, who has a great reputation for getting the most out of his players.
"We had a little concern about the nose position, how we're going to go about it, but I think [Vance] Walker's made a lot of progress. I think Sly has had a really good offseason," Kubiak said. "Marvin [Austin]'s been nicked a little bit and has missed some time. So there's been a little concern of how we're going to do that, but the good news is that Wade has played with the big nose, he's played with the small guys, he's played with all of them. I like the way Bill works and they've responded to Bill and I think they've done a good job."
Williams, though he had not played in a 3-4 prior to this offseason, told DenverBroncos.com in March that he was eager to face a new challenge and the pressure that it brings as he goes into his third season.
"There's a lot of pressure on me, but to be honest, I'm happy to have that pressure," he told us at the time. "I'm just excited that the coaches really believe in me in giving me a shot to prove myself."
DeMarcus Ware said on Tuesday that he's noticed Williams' confidence building this offseason, which falls right in line with Phillips' observations.
"He's getting that confidence of being that guy in the middle you're going to have to count on," Ware said. "I can see that confidence, especially in the pass rush. Also, with coach teaching him so many things—and the whole defensive line—those guys are really coming together as a conglomerate group."