Despite all the excitement and anticipation in Denver given the arrival of Peyton Manning, the fact remains that: (1) the schedule is front-loaded with potent offenses; and (2) the Broncos’ defense has been suspect at times.
This year, the Broncos are breaking in yet another defensive coordinator, loading up on cornerbacks, and hoping to find a pair of starting defensive tackles. Gone is Brodrick Bunkley; unsigned is Marcus Thomas.
Kevin Vickerson hopes to fill the void.
After dropping to 275 pounds last year in the hopes of better fitting into the team’s return to a 4-3 front, Vickerson has added a whopping 49 pounds, straining the scale at 324. As Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post explains it, Vickerson hasn’t simply followed the Joe McKnight McDonald’s diet. Vickerson’s body fat has plunged from 37 percent to 24.
“Coming off an injury, you could get out of shape with a bad body,” Vickerson said, referring to an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve after only five games. “A lot of guys, especially D-tackles, would come back way over-heavy, sloppy, bad weight. I’ve had that before, and I didn’t want that again.”
Vickerson has had to buy more food with less money. He agreed to cut his pay from $2.5 million to $1.2 million in order to remain on the roster.
“You have to use your leverage when you have your leverage,” Vickerson said. “I was coming off a year of IR. I didn’t do nothing last year. I want to earn my money, and if that means I have to earn it again and show, ‘Hey I am worth it,’ then I’ll get it next year or get a long-term deal sooner rather than later. A job is a job. I’d rather take a pay cut and have a job, than not take a pay cut and not have a job and have my wife and kids looking at me like, ‘What are we going to do?’ You have to be smart about the situation.”
And so Vickerson will vie with rookie Derek Wolfe and veterans Justin Bannan and Ty Warren (if Warren takes a pay cut of his own) and others for a shot to parlay a contract year into a contract large enough to complement his 324-pound frame.