Defense is finally first in Denver

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- If you played defense for the Denver Broncos, you always were on the other side of the ball.

Denver has long been an offensive-minded outfit. Until now. New Denver coach John Fox is a defensive-minded coach and Denver’s defenders are relishing the change.

“We finally have the ace card in our hand,” pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil said. “I love it.”

Denver hasn’t been led by a defensive-minded coach since 1994 when Wade Phillips was at the helm. Mike Shanahan ran the show from 1995-2008. Wanting to keep the focus on the offense, the Broncos replaced Shanahan with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. He flamed out last December.

In addition to his nine years of experience as a head coach, Denver was attracted to Fox because of his attention to defense. Denver was ranked No. 32 in the NFL in defense last season.

“It’s just nice to have your head coach be on your side of the ball,” Dumervil said. “Coach Fox knows so much about the defensive line and he is always walking around on our side of the field helping. I think is going to make this defense a lot better, much quicker.”

Star cornerback Champ Bailey hasn’t had a head coach who was defensive specialist since he played for Marty Schottenheimer in Washington in 2001.

“It’s been a long time,” Bailey said. “It’s about time. I really like what coach Fox has brought to this team. I’ve been really impressed.”