ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos are not going to be pushed around in 2011.
In fact, as far as the team's coordinators are concerned, Denver will be doing the majority of the pushing.
At the team's A Night with the Coaches event in May, Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen, Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy and Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers spoke about what they will expect out of their troops in the upcoming season.
All three coaches' philosophies seemed to center around one trait -- toughness.
Allen said the defense needs to bring the fight to the offense, McCoy talked about bringing back a physical running game and Rodgers looks for players who can get down the field and make big plays.
"First and foremost defensively we want to bring an attacking, aggressive style of defense," Allen said. "I think you can see by the players we drafted that speed is going to be very critical to us. We're going to pressure the quarterback in a multitude of ways. We're going to try to do a lot of different alignments, personnel packages, and try to confuse the offense yet be simple for ourselves. We do a lot of stuff out of different alignments, different personnel groupings, yet it's really just the same stuff for us."
The idea of keeping it simple was echoed in Rodgers' description of what he expects on special teams.
"The reason why is because we want our guys to be fast and allow them to play to their skill set," Rodgers said. "Allowing those guys to run instead of think is something that we've found a lot of success with."
The special teams coordinator said his philosophy mirrors Head Coach John Fox's, in that he looks for players that are "smart and tough and play physical and fast." He said the team's 2011 draft class helped add those type of players to the fold.
"Really with this draft, when you draft three linebackers and two safeties and a couple tight ends that can flat-out run down the field, those are the kind of guys that I usually work with," Rodgers said. "It's kind of a maturation process any time a guy comes into the league -- with the exception of the second pick in the draft -- you don't necessarily expect them to start from day one. So they're going to be in uniform and usually that's going to be covering kickoffs, covering punts, learning how to block for returners."
That's another one of the reasons Rodgers said he likes to keep the scheme simple, but still scary for opposing teams. As for his group of veterans, the coordinator said he can't wait to get the group on the field.
"We've got good specialists," he said. "Our punter is a good young guy, our kicker is a good young guy, and along with that our snapper is not a young guy but the guy snapped for the Patriots when everybody remembers Adam Vinatieri kicking those field goals -- he was the guy snapping. You're looking at
Rodgers wasn't the only one to leave the draft happy. Allen said drafting
And that talk of the offensive line prompted McCoy to talk about his hopes for his unit in 2011.
"We need to get back to the old Bronco way of running the football here," he said. "With our head coach, John Fox, he is determined to run the ball. When I was in Carolina with him, we had a two-headed monster every week. From our first transaction made in free agency with Stephen Davis back in 2003, he and DeShaun Foster led us to the Super Bowl running the football. Then we had DeShaun and DeAngelo (Williams), then we got Jonathan Stewart from Oregon once DeShaun left and went to San Francisco. So we will do a great job running the football and get back to the way Terrell (Davis) used to run the ball here."
Fox echoed that sentiment, reiterating that running back could be one of the position groups the team looks to bolster through free agency, adding to a talented offense.
"Offensively, there are actually two or three strengths," Fox said. "We were 13th in the league in total offense, I think we were seventh in passing and down a little lower in the run game. I think when we balance that a little bit more it will be more conducive to points because it makes you more effective in the red area. I think we've got a young offensive line that I think is talented. I think we've got a young receiver corps that is talented and I really believe quarterback is a strength. I don't know who's going to be that guy yet, but this is as strong one through three that I've been with in 23 years of coaching in the National Football League."
In the end, all three coordinators want opposing teams to dread preparing for their phase of the game. Allen, while ribbing McCoy that the rules of the game benefit the offense and defenses "can't do anything anymore," might have put it best.
"At the end of the day defensively, the only advantage that we have is to be feared," he said. "We're going to try to be aggressive, we're going to try to be attacking, we're going to try to intimidate the offense as much as we can within the rules. Those are the things that we're going to try to do and those are some of the things that we were able to get accomplished in New Orleans that helped us to win a world championship."