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Wade Phillips believes Broncos defense can be better in 2016

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
May 26, 2016

 

It’s been a theme from every defensive player we’ve heard from all offseason, the Denver Broncos defense can be better in 2016.

If there’s anybody in the organization who would aim to temper those sort of expectations it would be eternal-realist Wade Phillips. On Thursday, though, Phillips met with the media and was asked about that claim.

“Obviously, we’re way ahead of where we were last year,” he told. “I’m really pleased with where we are. I’m also pleased with the young guys, I feel like they are where the veterans were at this time last year. Our progress has been good.”

“There’s only two ways to go—up or down—and you need to go up in this business,” he added. “I think we can get better, there are some areas we can get better that we’ve identified, individually. In the offseason, we gave each player what they could do to improve themselves, we made a list of things that we could do to improve ourselves as a defense overall and, coaching-wise, what we need to do and get better at. You’re always working to get better, no matter how well you do.”

It’s an understandable assumption from the man who is looking from a more macro sense, get better individually and you can get better as a unit. That being said, though, you can’t exactly top the final outcome.

“We were one of the legendary defenses of our time,” recalled Phillips. “I told them, ‘We want to get better, certainly, but you’re not going to get better than winning the Super Bowl. That’s a goal that you reached last year that you have to try to reach again. You can get better as a player, you can get better scheme-wise.’ Individually, you’re always trying to get better.”

They coaches gave each player a list of things to do in the offseason that will help them make that individual jump and Phillips believes everyone agreed with the assessment.

“They better,” he said with a laugh. “We’re honest when we tell them they did a good job on something and we’re also honest when we say, ‘Hey, you can get better if you do this.'”

To be one of the best defenses of all time and then get a ring on your finger to support that, it would seemingly be easy to get fat, happy and bask in you own glory, but when talking about what keeps his squad motivated, the legendary defensive coordinator, like many others, turned to the idea that his team doesn’t get the respect they deserve.

“I don’t see them any different (mentally) than they were last year, in that they still fell like they have some things to prove,” he told. “The oddsmakers are really helping us. It’s just like the playoffs, ‘They can’t beat Pittsburgh,’ and now, ‘They can’t beat New England,’ and now ‘They can’t win the Wold Championship.’ We fought all fo those things last year and it looks like the same way.

“I think it’s good for this group because they like that, they like to be the underdog.”

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