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Joe Woods “sprinkling sugar” on Broncos defense to compliment juicy offense

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 24, 2017


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Recently, there have been reports stating that juice has too much sugar. Whether it be orange, apple or even the refreshing grapefruit, doctors and nutritionists are urging people to stay away from it.

These memos must not have made their way to the UCHealth Training Center.

After adding plenty of “juice” in the offseason — with the additions of Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, and De’Angelo Henderson through the draft and signing Jamaal Charles in free agency — Broncos recently promoted special teams coordinator Joe Woods now wants to add sugar to the cocktail that is the orange and blue.

Throughout the offseason, Woods has maintained that the Broncos’ defense won’t change too much under his new leadership since it produced impressive results over the past two years. However, Woods will have his own touch on a defense that was crafted by Wade Phillips the past two seasons.

“The foundation of our defense is going to stay the same. Our first two years we played a high-level of defense. We did a good job, but there’s a few things we definitely need to improve on,” Woods said on Wednesday. “But my big deal was I don’t want to come in and change the fingerprint or the foundation of our defense. All I said is I want to sprinkle a little sugar on it — something that will give us a little change up, make offenses work at the line of scrimmage. That’s all we are going to do.”

For the most part, Denver’s defense has been dominant the past two years. In 2015 and 2016, their pass defense topped the league by a significant margin. In 2015, they had the third-best run defense, only giving up 83.6 rushing yards per game, however, in 2016 they significantly regressed — giving up 130.3 yards on the ground, fifth-worst in the league.

The bit of “sugar” that Woods wants to add to the defense will most likely be aimed at turning the run defense back to its 2015 form.

“The thing is, it was our second year here in terms of defensive scheme. People had the chance to study [last] offseason and see what plays had success against you. A lot of times we call it ‘copy-cat football,’” Woods said. “Once teams find something that works, then they copy it from game-to-game. The biggest thing for us is — we had to look at it in the offseason and evaluate schematically what we were doing, what we were doing as coaches, were we coaching things correctly, and were the players executing it.”

Even though the team is over halfway through their offseason workout program, the coaching staff is still in the thick of the assessment process in preparation for 2017. When asked if Domata Peko — who is widely considered to be the frontrunner to start at nose tackle — would be the starter come opening day, Woods wouldn’t commit stating, “We are still in the evaluation process.”

In fact, Woods gave the same answer when asked a similar question about linebacker Brandon Marshall. The environment that Woods wants to create for his defense is simple: the best man will play.

“I always tell the guys, ‘It’s not about your resume, your reputation, how much you make or your draft status. It’s about what you do between the white lines,” he explained. “So all of those guys right now, we are in the process of evaluating what they can do on the football field…We’re not going to make any decisions right now on who to start. We are going to continue through the offseason, training camp and into the preseason to make that decision.”

One aspect of the defense that is certain in May, is the Broncos will continuously attack the quarterback. According to Woods, “we want to make sure that we are bringing waves of rushers at people.”

The question that nutritionists may not be considering is what happens when sugar is added to juice. The Broncos will answer that question beginning in September.


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