Broncos’ DC Says He’s Proud of Team and Staff

Bronco’s defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio spoke during Super Bowl media day. Here is what he had to say.
On how practicing against QB Peyton Manning throughout the season has made the defense better:
“Obviously, in camp it’s every period, but during the season we still maintain. Each day we have a competitive period where offense goes against defense. He’s the ultimate competitor. The guy’s very sharp so working on all the different things that we want to work on, you’re getting a true test each and every day.”
On being a defensive coordinator after being a head coach:
“When you’ve got control over the whole team, obviously, you have responsibilities and duties that go along with that. When you go back, take a step back, and you’re dealing with basically, roughly half the team it cuts that workload in half. I don’t deal with as much of the media issues, the marketing issues, and all those types of things. So, it’s just pure football and getting back to the roots of what I do and what I bring to the table teaching and coaching and having fun with it.”
On what he wanted to implement into the defense when he started as defensive coordinator:
“There are certain trademarks or staples that I believe in terms of playing great defense. So, you begin with some of those things. Building a mentality is first and foremost in terms of how you’re going to approach it. Being able to play with a seven man front against the run game and not having to blitz – those are things that we take pride in and that we begin Day 1 with. So, I’d say it starts there. Clearly in today’s NFL you’ve got to be able to handle space. You’ve got to be able to handle tempo in space. So, making sure that you have a design to handle that, and then to always make sure that you can keep the quarterback uncomfortable. Don’t want him to get too comfortable.”
On having to shuffle players throughout the year because of injuries:
“It’s been fun really to work at it and to be able to achieve what we have as a group of men. We’ve had a lot of challenges, a lot of guys go down, and we talk all the time about ‘next man up’ philosophy, which a lot of people talk about it, but we’ve actually lived it and done it. I take pride in the fact that our staff, we’re constantly working on guys, preparing our guys for the potential opportunity that may come, and then when it happens those guys don’t blink. They go and they play well. We’ve had those types of things throughout the year. It’s better when you don’t have to deal with that, quite honestly. It’s better when you’re just dealing with a talented group and they stay together and they gel throughout the year, but we’ve been able to gel and grow as a group despite all those injuries. I’m pretty proud of that.”
On if he learned a lot from his years as a head coach:
“I had that four-week stretch this year where I was the interim guy and there’s no question that the previous nine years that I spent as a head coach making decisions (helped). The wisdom that you gain when you’re doing it – regardless of how well you think you’re prepared as a young coordinator looking for an opportunity, when you actually go through the fire and go through the test of nine years of doing it, putting together the staff and all the different responsibilities you have as a head coach, there’s no question that at this point in time I’m much more qualified to do that kind of job.”
On if there is anything he would do differently from his time as the head coach of Jacksonville:
“Yeah, a bunch of things. There’s a long list. I think you’re constantly growing, regardless. I’m out each year trying to make sure that I am staying up to date with what’s going on in our game and in the college game. There’s a great opportunity to kind of share and learn and grow as a coach and that’s the way I approach it. I don’t ever sit back and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got this thing figured out’ because to me the game’s constantly evolving. When we go to colleges to scout players, I’m visiting with coaching staffs, invite guys in, and a little bit of give and take. Here’s what we’re doing and learn about what they’re doing and just kind of grow and learn football.”
On what DE Jeremy Mincey has been able to bring to the defense:
“He’s a veteran guy, a guy that I know comes with great energy every day. We appreciated him stepping in and being a guy that we can count on as we’ve gone down the stretch here.”