February 18, 2009 6:57 AM
Broncos defense getting major makeover
Only in Denver can the release of players named Dewayne Robertson, Marquand Manuel, John Engleberger and Jamie Winborn stir up so much reaction in the blog comments.
Then again, the Broncos probably were the only team in the NFL that considered these players worthy of starting last season.
I don't believe any talk that new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has been burning the midnight oils while breaking down one series of tapes after after another, trying to decide which players stay and which players go from last year's defense.
No. Instead I believe Coach 'McWonderkind' watched the film of last year's Broncos-Patriots game - the one where his offense put up three 70-yard plus drives, with Sammy Morris running for over 130 yards in less than three quarters and the Patriots offense scoring five touchdowns in a 41-7 win.
Watch that tape and you come away with the idea that Denver's defense smells like crap. Now the Broncos' staff is going to Indianapolis for the scouting combine, hoping to find some new NFL-caliber talent that will make a difference.
The Broncos need a nose tackle that can make a difference. They need defensive ends that can make a difference. They need safeties that can make a difference. They need difference-makers at linebacker and cornerback, too.
So while you're trying to figure out that "special" one, the first-round pick that will cure all ails, just remember -- the Broncos need difference-makers all over the field. That takes more than one first-round pick.
That said, drafting University of Southern California linebacker Rey Maualuga and signing (or trading for) Carolina Panthers star defensive lineman Julius Peppers would be a real good start for a team overhauling its defense.
Maualuga was voted the nation's top collegiate defensive player in 2008. Peppers, who turned 29 last month, returned to Pro Bowl form in '08 with 14 1/2 sacks. And he wants out of Carolina -- period.