I’ve been counting the days until the beginning of training camp as it’s always nice to know football is coming back into my life. The Denver Broncos organization at this point has to be counting the days as well, hoping the start of camp will signal an end to the time where players can get themselves on the wrong side of the league and/or the law.
First it was D.J. Williams getting flattened by his own defiance. The process must run its course, but if Williams did try to pass off synthetic/non-human urine in multiple tests, and botch an attempt to empty that faux fluid, AND THEN filed a lawsuit against the league…well, he deserves to be dropped on account of sheer stupidity.
Speaking of bad ideas with no legitimate excuses, what’s up Elvis Dumervil? Minimal facts are public in the case right now, but generally when you’re charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, a few things had to happen: you had a gun with you, got into a heated confrontation, and invited the gun into the mix. I know the topic of players using weaponry to protect themselves can get complicated, and to reiterate, we don’t know all the facts, but it’s pretty easy to avoid this situation. Mainly, don’t hang out in places where it may be a good idea to have a gun for protection.
Now, less than two weeks before training camp begins and the Broncos start to assess who will give this team the best shot at not just the playoffs, but perhaps a Super Bowl, the future of these two is very much uncertain. Here’s what the Broncos lose with Williams and Dumervil out of the lineup. These numbers are the product of combining Williams’ and Dumervil’s totals from 2011 and then dividing by 13, as that was the number of games where both started.
1 sack, 7.7 tackles, 3 assists
May not seem like a ton, but extrapolate that across 16 games. In tackles alone these two comprised 15% of Denver’s tackling output, much of that coming from Williams. Perhaps most concerning is in the category of sacks. While Von Miller led the Broncos with 11.5 sacks last season, Dumervil and Williams were second and third, respectively. Now that isn’t to say whomever replaced Williams or Dumervil would produce at a dramatically lower rate, but the generally you don’t want to be without some of your most productive players.
At this point it seems likely Denver would part ways with Williams. Until more facts of Dumervil’s case are known it’s difficult to say just how serious of a problem he could become for the team. Maybe it’s a multi-game suspension with no legal penalties, or maybe it’s prison time. Regardless, even with Peyton Manning in the huddle, the Broncos can ill afford to have their defensive starters recklessly taking themselves out of the roster before the season even begins.
As of now, Williams and Dumervil seem to be illustrating not only poor individual decisions, but a mentality that will quickly squash this team’s playoff chances if it’s allowed to become a locker room culture. When Pat Bowlen’s team was atrocious he wrote a personal apology to the fans. He was accountable. When Dumervil was booked into a Miami jail on a serious felony charge he grinned in his mugshot. Accountability appears to be far from his mind.