The spotlight in Denver is squarely on Peyton Manning, arguably the offseason’s most important acquisition. That makes it easy to forget that the Broncos made a number of key veteran additions in the spring, especially on defense. We heard adding depth at cornerback was a focal point for Denver, and they signed free agents Tracy Porter and Drayton Florence, and drafted Omar Bolden.
Porter will start opposite Champ Bailey, and the ex-Saint spoke to PFW following the Broncos’ preseason opener against the Bears about what he has learned from the future Hall of Fame corner.
“Let the game come to you,” Porter said. “You already have good feet, so continue playing with great technique and always discipline yourself to maintain that technique and let the game come to you and everything else will take care of itself.”
Porter said he wanted to improve on that idea and his experienced teammates have been assisting him.
“Being under Champ, being under Drayton, those guys have been in the league combined, what, 24 years? That’s a ton of experience right there,” he said. “I felt myself being overly anxious to get out there on the field and want to make plays instead of just doing my job and being under control. That’s something I found myself not doing in New Orleans.”
Porter comes to Denver with four seasons of experience, 39 starts, 32 passes defensed and seven interceptions in his career. With Jack Del Rio leading the Broncos’ defense and allowing it to be more aggressive, Porter explained what that does to his role at corner.
“By being aggressive and guys going after the quarterback more, we have to hone in that much more on our technique on covering these guys,” he said. “They say the average play lasts about six seconds, but we may have to do it for six-and-a-half or seven seconds so those front guys can get after the quarterback.”
Denver finished 18th against the pass last season and 22nd against the run. There are still questions about the front seven’s ability to stop the run, and the secondary will need to be ready. On the Bears’ fourth offensive play, RB Michael Bush had bounced outside, only to be stopped by Porter for a one-yard gain.
“It knocked the cobwebs out. It was my first contact in a little while and a play I had to make,” Porter said. “If I didn’t make it, it would have been a long run.”
While Porter talks about learning from veterans Bailey and Florence, he brings experience to the defense of what it means to play defense for a blue-chip quarterback. Porter compared playing with Drew Brees to his new teammate, Manning.
“To me, it’s the same. You have another first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback with another high-powered offense. Those guys will be the focal point. We just have to go out on defense and do our job,” he said. “There’s no added pressure. In fact, it makes it good for us because we have a quarterback and an offense that can put points on the board. We’ll be playing with the lead more times than not, and it’s our job to keep the lead and get those guys the ball as much as possible.”
Now, Porter's job is to get the ball back to Manning, whom he famously took the ball away from with an interception returned for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIV.
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