Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips lost a couple of starters from last year’s defense in free agency when defensive lineman Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan signed with other teams.
Phillips called both of those players “key guys for us,” but didn’t sound like he’s going to spend much time lamenting their absence. During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn, Phillips said that both players missed time here and there after getting dinged and “we did pretty well when they weren’t in there.”
Stepping in for a handful of plays or even a couple of games is different than doing it over the long haul, although Phillips could be forgiven if he’s more concerned about another potential absence. Linebacker Von Miller still has to sort out his contractual situation, a topic that the often chatty Phillips wasn’t saying much about on Wednesday.
“I coach whoever’s there, obviously,” Phillips said. “I don’t have any control over all of the other things and I really don’t know much about it. And they told me not to say anything about it anyway, so that’s my spiel.”
The Broncos have good depth at outside linebacker in Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett and Phillips has built enough effective defenses to be confident he can do it with those players. All things being equal, though, it’s hard to imagine that’s a route anyone in Denver wants to travel.