ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –The names and faces aren't exactly the same as from the 2012 season, but defensive end Derek Wolfe claims that the chemistry among the defensive linemen is just as strong entering the 2013 campaign.
"I think we're just as close," Wolfe said Saturday after practice. "I know we're just as close of a group. A couple guys were added and they fit right in. We're losing a great pass rusher and a great player and a great guy but I think we're filling his spot pretty well."
With defensive end Elvis Dumervil gone, the Broncos defensive line has some production to make up for. But a crew of new faces is ready to pick up the slack.
In addition to first-round draft pick Sylvester Williams, the Broncos brought in Terrance Knighton, also a defensive tackle, to bulk up the middle of the line.
The Broncos have also seen some other players make big jumps from their first season to their second, like Wolfe and Malik Jackson.
Kevin Vickerson said Monday that the defensive line is on the right track towards coming together.
"So far so good," he said. "We still have a long way to go. First round (at San Francisco) was alright, wasn't up to par – up to our standards. We're still jelling, there's still work to do but I think we'll be alright."
He went on to compliment the progress that Williams has made and said that he has been impressed with Jackson's work in camp.
Vickerson, who said that he likes to lead by example, has a certain vision for the mentality that he wants to permeate through the line this season.
"Bring that nastiness to the front, bring that physical presence, being that dominator on the line of scrimmage," Vickerson said. "That's my mindset for the tackles inside."
Though the Broncos won't have to be ready for the season opener for another three weeks, Vickerson said Wednesday that if season started this weekend, the defense would be prepared for it.
"No question," VIckerson said. "The coaching staff has been doing a good job of giving us the defense and we've doing a good job of taking the information that they've been giving us and applying it to the field. That's the biggest thing that I see us doing.
"We're not all the way there yet but at the same time if it was game time and the season opener, we would definitely be ready."