Lynch says defense can be No. 1


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Jan 22, 2006
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Lynch says defense can be No. 1

By Adrian Dater
Denver Post Staff Writer

Staring down at media members from a makeshift podium at the Broncos' Dove Valley headquarters, John Lynch metaphorically said he wants the same view when it comes to final NFL team defensive statistics this season.

The star safety believes the 2006 Broncos defense can be at the top of the heap.

"I've been on a No. 1 defense before (with Tampa Bay in 2002) and I think this team has the ability to do that this year," Lynch said.

Last season, the Broncos finished 15th in the 32-team NFL in total yards allowed per game (312.9), with their pass defense ranked 29th (227.7). The run defense finished second (85.2).

Lynch, 34, comes into his 14th season tanned and feeling as fit as he has in his NFL career. He played in every game last season for the first time in four years and believes he can do it again.

"(Fitness) is something I take a lot of pride in," Lynch said. "I'm excited about this group, the way we've worked this entire offseason. Even in my 14th year, I'm looking forward to getting into training camp."

The Broncos were the last NFL team to conduct their minicamps, something Lynch said might work to their advantage.

"A typical schedule gives guys, essentially, a month off at the end (of minicamp), and I think players like that. But I can understand where (Broncos coach Mike Shanahan) is coming from," Lynch said. "This is a game where, if you're not doing it on a regular basis, it's out of sight, out of mind. I think it's smart to be playing football, not just to be working out, close to camp. This keeps it fresh in everyone's minds, and we'll come into camp, I think, sharper because of that."

Pros bowl

As a reward for what he said were two excellent days of minicamp, Shanahan nixed practice for the final day and took the team on a bowling jaunt Saturday.

The Broncos next convene July 27 for the start of training camp at Dove Valley.

Cutler's curve

Asked whether there was one thing he could wish for rookie quarterback Jay Cutler to master by the end of training camp, Shanahan called such a question unrealistic.

"There's not one thing, there's so many things to learn as a quarterback. It's a process," Shana- han said. "Offenses, defenses, different terminology, different schemes; you just take some time. He's just got to get better and better every day. He's worked extremely hard. He's going to have some good days and bad days, and he's got to fight through it, like the great ones have done it in the past. Hopefully, he can get to the next level."

Cutler, a first-round draft pick from Vanderbilt, enjoyed minicamp and the interaction with quarterbacks Jake Plummer and Bradlee Van Pelt - particularly Plummer, the veteran starter.

"Jake's a good guy. He's helped me out a lot," Cutler said. "Jake's got to take care of his stuff on the field. But when he gets time, he gives me some little tidbits, and during meetings he explains stuff really well. He's been professional about the whole situation....But everybody here is a competitor, everybody wants to play. Everyone wants to be in the NFL. I'm here to be a starting quarterback, whether it's a close future or a couple years down the road. But I'm going to keep competing out here the best I can, and everything is going to fall into place as it will."


The Broncos signed free-agent linebacker T.J. Hollowell to a two-year contract Saturday. Hollowell, who played collegiately at Nebraska, is a third- year pro.

He has played in six regular-season games with the New York Jets and the New York Giants, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2004.
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