Jack Del Rio is a defensive coordinator again, and in Denver he has two pretty awesome pass-rushing toys at his disposal — Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Del Rio also isn’t complaining about the addition of Peyton Manning, who should help keep pressure off of his young defense.
Jack Del Rio joined Evans and Klatt on KKFN in Denver to talk about his new role as defensive coordinator with the Broncos, his expectations for next season, what he wants to see improve and the dynamic of coaching the defense of a team that has Peyton Manning on offense.
On if he views this job as a stopgap between head-coaching gigs:
“Obviously I was a head coach for a good part of the last nine years, and maybe some day again, but right now my focus is entirely on helping this defense and helping this organization win football games.”
On what he expects from this defense:
“We’re looking for guys who are gonna give it up for us and give it up for each other and we’re gonna build that mentality every day in practice. So that process has begun. We’ve established high expectations, we expect to be a top-10, if not better, defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there but that’s what our goals are.”
On the areas he feels they need to improve the most:
“The areas we were good at last year we want to build on. Getting off on third down was a strength of this defense for sure. But at the end of the day, it was 24th in points allowed, 20th in yards allowed, and those aren’t numbers that we’re looking for. So we gotta do some work up front, making sure that we can keep people from running it down our throats a little bit. We gave up too many explosive plays in the run and the pass game. I think tackling, and understanding how we fit things, and a mixture of some of the coverage elements that we’ll bring should help us do those things. But again, it goes back to 11 men that know what they’re doing that are going hard together, and when you create that kind of mentality you can play really good defense.”
On how having Peyton Manning on offense changes things for his defense:
“With Peyton you’ve gotta be able to play with a lead. And that’s one of the things I think we can do with the strength of our pass rushers. We’ve got — if you looked at the strength of our defense right now it’d be Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil coming off the edges. And we worked hard to fortify the back end a little bit with some of the additions throughout the free agency and draft process. So that should remain a strength. I think the one thing that we tried to do when we go up against Peyton is limit his snaps, and limit his exposure. So we would try and run the ball right at the Colts and try and take away time of possession. And that’ll be something that we can’t allow to happen. Defensively we’ve gotta be able to get people stopped and not let them just run it down the field and control the clock.”