2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Vickerson anchoring a solid Denver 'D'

    2012-11-29 17:31

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Take less money, gain more weight.

Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson heard each of those messages from the Denver Broncos in the offseason and complied with both.

The result has been one of the strongest seasons in his seven-year NFL career - and at a bargain to boot.

Playing at 330 pounds, about 40 pounds more than what he weighed in at last year, Vickerson has been occupying two offensive linemen at a time for much of the time, freeing up Denver's linebackers to make plays.

``I want to eat up blockers, let the backers run free and fast,'' Vickerson said. ``If I can take two - center-guard, guard-tackle, center-tackle - however it works, then that's good. Just take up two guys and let the linebackers eat.''

Speaking of eating - when Jack Del Rio took over as Denver's defensive coordinator in the offseason, he quickly saw that Vickerson couldn't be the big line clogger he was looking for if he played at 290 pounds, the way he did in 2011. Del Rio asked him to put some meat back on and return to the size he was when he was at his peak with the Titans in 2009 and the Broncos in 2010.

``Not just go out and eat a bunch of pizza and pack on a bunch of fat,'' Del Rio said. ``It was good weight, muscle weight that he added, so it's been good for us.''

Vickerson also agreed to essentially getting his salary cut in half, from about $2.2 million to $1.2 million, as the Broncos tried to clear some cap room and save money on a player who missed the final 11 games last season with an injured ankle. Denver also was making room for the free agent signing of Justin Bannan, who lines up beside Vickerson and plays much the same role.

And while neither the salary nor Vickerson's numbers - 32 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss - are astronomical, sometimes with interior defensive linemen, the numbers don't tell the whole story.

``He just makes things a lot easier on us,'' said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who leads the Broncos with 94 tackles. ``It's real good when you don't have to worry about linemen coming up to the next level. You've got a guy like Kevin up there who demands a double team. He's doing a great job demanding that. When the linebackers are flowing toward the ball, it almost always points back toward the defensive line.''

With Vickerson anchoring the line, the Broncos defense is ranked ninth against the run and fourth overall. On Sunday, it gets a good test against Tampa Bay and rookie running back Doug Martin. Denver had a setback last week when Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles went for 107 yards.

``Vickerson, he's a big anchor guy,'' said defensive end Elvis Dumervil. ``He reads screens and draws, he's a guy who can redirect. One thing we like to talk about is getting big guys to the ball. When big guys get to the ball, a lot of good things happen.''

But Vickerson doesn't ever want to get too big.

During the spring and summer of 2011, when the NFL lockout was on and team facilities were closed for offseason workouts, Vickerson redoubled his efforts and tried to lose the weight.

``I know how my body goes if I don't work out,'' he said. ``So, in the meantime, I might have worked out too much. I was just working and it was just falling off.''

Del Rio told him to put it back on. The coach said he didn't worry about Vickerson going overboard.

``The guys you worry about are the guys you're asking to get down, the guys who are too big,'' Del Rio said. ``This way, you're coming at it from a different angle.''

Notes: LB Von Miller was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month, the first Bronco to receive that honor since CB Champ Bailey in October 2006. ... Bailey will get yet another look at Bucs WR Vincent Jackson this week, a former Charger. ``I remember at the Pro Bowl last year, I told him to get out of our division. And he did, thank God. But here we go again,'' Bailey said. ... DE Robert Ayers missed practice again to be with his family after the sudden death of his dad last weekend. The funeral is Saturday and coach John Fox said he wasn't sure if Ayers would be back in time for Sunday's game. ... Fox on the city of Denver's preliminary efforts to land a Super Bowl in 2018, `19 or `20: ``We've got, if not the nicest, one of the nicest stadiums in the league. Denver's a great town. It's got great fans. There'd be great enthusiasm, I know, if we were fortunate to get it.'' ... Del Rio's son, Luke, is a quarterback for Valor Christian High, which is playing for the state championship Saturday. The defensive coordinator says he certainly talks football with his son, who is being recruited by Oklahoma State and Oregon State, but ``from my standpoint, as a dad, I'm more concerned with the character he shows, the way he competes every play - things like that are more important to me than what the end result is.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Rolando McClainApr 1 08:33a

Free-agent LB Rolando McClain re-signed with the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal worth $3 million. He can also earn $1 million in playing time incentives.

Greg JenningsMar 31 10:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) visited the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, March 31, and he tweeted he has a deal done. However, a source is reporting that the deal is not with the Panthers.

Eric EbronMar 31 09:03p

The Detroit Lions are expecting TE Eric Ebron to make a big jump from his rookie season to year number two. 'Ebron's the guy we're counting on to be [ More ]

Demaryius ThomasMar 31 07:13p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle, Achilles') took 'about a month' to recover from an ankle/Achilles' injury that he suffered last December. Thomas said his ankle will be fine [ More ]

Jacquizz RodgersMar 31 06:03p

Free-agent RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Falcons) signed an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 31.

Vincent BrownMar 31 04:13p

Free-agent WR Vincent Brown (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, March 31.

Antonio SmithMar 31 04:13p

Oakland Raiders DE Antonio Smith will be released, according to a source informed on the move. The Raiders will save $3.2 million with the move.

Jason TrusnikMar 31 04:13p

Free-agent LB Jason Trusnik (Dolphins) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, March 31. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Chandler HarnishMar 31 03:43p

Free-agent QB Chandler Harnish (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Arizona Cardinals Tuesday, March 31.

Matt SchaubMar 31 02:22p

Free-agent QB Matt Schaub (Raiders) signed with the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, March 31. Terms were not disclosed.

Theo RiddickMar 31 01:33p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick will have his role expanded in 2015. The team may opt to draft a running back in the NFL Draft, so how much his [ More ]

Miles AustinMar 30 05:32p

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 30. The deal is worth $2.3 million with $700,000 available in incentives, according to a source.

DeMeco RyansMar 30 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles') said he will be ready for training camp in July after coming back from his second torn Achilles' tendon since 2010. He will [ More ]

Michael HillMar 30 05:02p

Free-agent RB Michael Hill (Colts) signed an undisclosed deal with the Washington Redskins Monday, March 30.

Demaryius ThomasMar 30 02:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas will not be present at the Broncos' offseason program or attend workouts with QB Peyton Manning at Duke University. Thomas is currently in Los Angeles for a charity event.

Jordan TodmanMar 30 01:42p

Free-agent RB Jordan Todman (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Monday, March 30. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group