Broncos’ front-liners start anew |

Broncos’ front-liners start anew

Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
Broncos rookie quarterback # 3 Tom Brandstater lets loose a long pass downfield that was caught by rookie tightend # 85 Marquez Branson during training camp at Dove Valley. Joe Amon / The Denver Post

As Champ Bailey heads into his 11th NFL season, he’s been named to eight Pro Bowls and he’s been through ups, downs and all around. Yet ask him who can cover receivers in a defense that can’t rush the passer or stop the run and the answer is quick and to the point.

“Nobody,” Bailey said. “Nobody can do it without the guys up front. I don’t care who you are.”

The Broncos need those guys to be front and center on defense. Especially if they have any hope of leaving behind their defensive struggles of the past two seasons.

And folks will get their first look at the front three in the Broncos’ new look 3-4 defense Friday night at San Francisco.

“In a lot of ways we have nowhere to go but up,” said outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. “And it all starts with those guys up front.”

Poll a long line of NFL personnel executives about the Broncos’ defense of ’08 – 448 points allowed, 27th in run defense, 26th in pass defense and 29th overall – and the same notion always pops up.

Little. Small. Light at the point of attack.

And while the Broncos did not dive into the big-ticket line in free agency to fix those woes up front, they have tried to get bigger along the defensive line. And they brought in Wayne Nunnely – a former defensive line coach in the San Diego Chargers’ 3-4 defense – to organize a unit, like much of the rest of the roster, that is going to have plenty of new faces under the helmets.

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