Broncos Defense Ready To Prove Its Better Than Last Year

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - The numbers stick out like a pimple on prom night.

In 2007, the Denver Broncos defense allowed 409 points and 143 rushing yards per game, and was ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the NFL. Six times opponents scored more than 30 points against the Broncos, and twice a team hung more than 40 on the them.

The performance helped lead to a 7-9 finish, just the second losing season in coach Mike Shanahan's 13 years at the helm. Much of the blame fell on the defense, and those players have taken it as a challenge.

Defensive tackle Kenny Peterson says the defense needs to be a "solid cog" to the team, and that's what they plan to do.

The Broncos made significant changes in the off-season, starting with a change in defensive boss from Jim Bates to Bob Slowik. Slowik installed a simpler, read-and-react system that players like more.

Peterson says the system takes the thinking out of things, and lets players be athletes.

(Copyright 2008 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)