Greetings Bronco Nation!
Time for an update on the latest Broncos News!
I know what you're thinking...."It's the off-season"....well, that's why we're here, The Fifth Quarter aka Quinto Cuarto. It's our duty and obligation to help you get excited and more knowledgeable about the small things that make football the greatest sport ever!
Now, the latest news and why you should try to care....
The Denver Post posted...pun intended... a story that the Denver Broncos just signed free agent Justin Bannan to the team for a one year contract. Bannan will play defensive tackle (DT) in the 4-3 defensive scheme that the Broncos run and this will be his second stint with the Broncos. (The defensive tackle is the middle position (s) on the defensive line. This position's job is two fold, to stop the run and to disrupt the quarterbacks throwing pocket.)
A little background on Bannan; He was first signed to a lucrative free agent deal by the young offensive minded Josh McDaniels who was into his second year as the Broncos Head Coach. At that time, the Broncos were in need of defensive players and Justin Bannan, a 8 year pro that was a part time defensive line player for the Baltimore Ravens, fit the mold of what the Broncos wanted to do defensively. He stated 16 games as a 3-4 defensive end (DE). (The DE is the guy on the outside, or sideline side of the defensive line. This position is intended to occupy offensive line blocks, hopefully greater than 1 blocker, and allow the linebackers to make plays on the offensive side of the ball. It's a humble role on a football team; you put in the work, and get no recognition from outside the locker room, which is why no one really hears about the 3-4 DT or DE.)
One year after Bannan started 16 games and signed his contract he was being asked by new Denver Broncos staff John Elway, Vice President of Football Operations, John Fox, Head Coach, and existing General Manager Brian Xanders, to take a pay cut. John, John, and Brian were changing defensive schemes from McDaniels' 3-4 scheme and didn't require a 3-4 defensive end at the price they were paying for Bannan. The Broncos were moving to a 4-3 scheme and wanted rotational players that could fill the need at half the price. Bannan refused to take the pay cut and was then released by the team as a free agent for the 2011 season. Following that episode, he signed with the St. Louis Rams on a one year deal as a 3-4 defensive end (which happens to be the team where Josh McDaniels was hired at the start of the 2011 off-season as the Offensive Coordinator).
Now, Bannan is back with the Broncos, to fill in as what I see is a rotational back-up DT role to Ty Warren and Kevin Vickerson (perhaps start if he can bring the heat!). This is significant because the Broncos got a quality back-up with a chip on his shoulder that can contribute to stopping the run at what is imagined to be a reasonable price. Bannan has a chip on his shoulder because he never really wanted to leave Denver. He has a home in Denver and because he started 16 games for the Broncos, the first full season of his career starting, he said he felt like he has some "unfinished business" with the Broncos. He wants the Broncos to be successful and he wants to prove it to the organization that they never should have asked him to cut his pay. That's why he signed a 1 year, I'll prove it to you deal, just like the Brodrick Bunkley deal last year.
Throughout the league, defensive tackle is seen as one of Denver's greatest positions of need based off of last season's performance at stopping the inside running game and disrupting the pocket. With the signing of Bannan, the Broncos added a quality player that will contribute to the defense next year and will take a small faction of pressure off the staff to bolster the DT position with a first round pick in the upcoming draft.
This may give the Broncos some wiggle room to trade down, out of the first round, to acquire two to three more picks in this years draft, which I think would be their best move. Now they just need to find a trade partner...to be continued....