ENGLEWOOD • In defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s opinion, a new scheme will make a big difference for the Denver Broncos defense.

Nolan was hired by coach Josh McDaniels to fix a defense that gave up 28 points per game in 2008, then didn’t spend lavishly or use many draft picks to fix the front seven.

When asked why the defense would improve, he first talked about the entire team being more successful, then said the defensive improvement starts with the scheme change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 with three linemen and four linebackers.

“What you try to do with the scheme, in particular a 3-4, is utilize all the talent of your players,” said Nolan, who hadn’t spoken to the media since being hired because of Denver’s restrictive media policy for assistants. “I think it does that.”

The defensive line is unproven but Nolan thinks there are some players. He said all of the outside linebackers who converted from the defensive line are improving. And he hopes the experience of the secondary rubs off on others.
Nolan said he has confidence in the Broncos defense improving this year. He did say it will take a while before everyone is comfortable with his new scheme.

“You’d always like to be further along than you are at this time, and in a year from now they will be further, but they have a lot to learn,” Nolan said.