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

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group