Added weight won’t slow down Broncos’ Woodyard
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado ” Wesley Woodyard had his moments as an undersized rookie linebacker for the Denver Broncos last year. As a bigger player, he expects to contribute even more in his second season in the league.
“I played last year at 218 pounds and right now I am 230,” Woodyard said. “I worked on my lower body in the offseason to pick up some weight so I will be ready for everything because I added a few more pounds.”
Woodyard wasn’t bad when he carried less weight.
During five starts as a weak side linebacker, Woodyard recorded 50 tackles as Denver improved to 8-5 and got within reach of clinching a playoff berth.
Against the New York Jets he had 13 tackles, 11 of them solo, and forced a fumble by Brett Favre. He led the team with eight solo tackles and broke up a pass in the team’s second meeting with Kansas City.
Woodyard said to expect more of the same with the added poundage.
“I feel the same,” Woodyard said. “I feel like I can run around, fly around like I was able to do when I was lighter.”
However, his added weight might rule out the possibility that he’ll ever play safety, something he has wanted to do.
“No, we didn’t talk about any of that, (with the coaches),” Woodyard said. “Of course, I would love to play safety right now, but we’ve strictly talked about working at linebacker.”
Right now there are plenty of other matters on his plate to digest. What position in the linebacking corps is a better match for his skills?
“That’s still to be determined. We still have the whole camp to go through,” Woodyard said about the position search. “The coaches are working on me at several positions so who knows what is going to happen.”
After a year playing in a 4-3 scheme, what are his thoughts about the 3-4?
“We are just going through some different schemes on the defense,” Woodyard said. “Right now, where I’m going to be out on the field is still up in the air. Right now it’s just contributing on special teams like I did last year and basically having fun.”
The offseason conditioning programs and upcoming training camp won’t be without some personal delight. The Broncos brought in childhood companion and longtime teammate Braxton Kelley.
“Braxton and I played middle school ball and little league ball and it’s been like we are brothers, wherever I go, he comes along with me,” Woodyard said.
The Broncos released rookie LB Jeff Schweiger on Friday. The San Jose State product was signed by Denver on April 28 as a college free agent.