Broncos’ Dumervil wants more than QB sacks
Vail, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD ” Elvis Dumervil wants to do more than just harass quarterbacks.
The second-year pro, who led the Broncos with 8 1/2 sacks as a rookie last year, wants to be a run-stopper, too. The Broncos believe Dumervil has improved enough to merit more playing time, but he might not want to get used to starting.
He got his first start Saturday night against Cleveland as the Broncos began moving on from the loss of starter Ebenezer Ekuban to a season-ending Achilles’ injury. He fared well, recording a sack and putting some pressure on the pocket.
Coach Mike Shanahan likes to rest his starters in the final preseason tuneup, which he uses to determine the final half dozen or so roster spots, and Dumervil was told he won’t play Thursday night against Arizona. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to hold onto that starting spot ahead of rookies Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder and swingman Alvin McKinley.
New defensive coordinator Jim Bates told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s been impressed with Dumervil’s offseason work and desire to be a more well-rounded player but that he won’t be the starter.
“He’s gotten much stronger in the weight room and his endurance is getting better and better. And he’s added a little bit more power to his rush. He’s using a little bit more finesse along with his power, so he’s improved,” Bates said.
Dumervil can certainly be used on occasional first and second downs as a run-stopper, Bates said.
“He can. It all depends on who we have available, who we dress out, as to how much he’ll be in there on run downs. He can play. He’s not going to be a starter on run downs but he can go in and spell at times and get the job done,” Bates said.
So, Dumervil will have to settle for getting more playing time this season.
He played the run during a standout college career at Louisville. “It’s a little different in ‘the League.’ Guys are a little quicker and stronger and a lot smarter,” he said.
At 5-11 and 260 pounds, Dumervil is diminutive for an NFL defensive end, but that didn’t prevent him from bull-rushing Browns massive left tackle Joe Thomas, the third pick in the draft, and forcing quarterback Charlie Frye out of the pocket, where he was corralled by Amon Gordon for a sack Saturday night.
“It’s all about leverage,” said Dumervil, who got by on speed rushes as a rookie.
“Last year, I thought I kind of got slowed down when I didn’t have any counter moves. Teams just started trying to take away my speed rush,” Dumervil said.
So, he worked with line coach Jacob Burney in the offseason to refine his pass-rush moves and he learned how to better use his hands to play the handoff and the drop-back.
“I just want to keep the tackle guessing. I don’t want to be too predictable,” Dumervil said. “I added some moves to my arsenal and I’m excited about it.”
Good thing, too, because the Broncos spent two of their four draft picks on defense ends in Moss and Crowder.
“I never held my head down. I know they went hard in the draft with top ends Moss and Tim, who are good additions to our defense. But I never really got off focus,” Dumervil said. “I just kept believing in myself.”
Dumervil figures if he can be on the field more this season, he’ll see a big jump in his sacks.
“Definitely 12 to 15,” he said, adding it was a realistic goal “especially with the corners we have in Dre’ Bly and Champ Bailey. It’s really like stealing. I think up front we have to take it upon ourselves to get after it because we have guys who can cover.”
Dumervil’s improvement helped pave the way for the exit of 11th-year pro Kenard Lang, who started all 16 games last year but was among the cuts Tuesday when the roster was trimmed to 75.