Updated: December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am
ENGLEWOOD – Elvis Dumervil, a starter for the AFC’s Pro Bowl team at outside linebacker, estimated Wednesday that he is about 80 percent proficient at his new position.
Less than a year ago the Denver Broncos asked Dumervil to move to a position he had never played before, and now he is one of the NFL’s best – even if he says he has a lot to learn. Although the Broncos have mostly asked Dumervil to play to his familiar strengths and rush the quarterback, his first Pro Bowl berth is a testament to his hard work this year.
“It definitely paid off,” Dumervil said. “It was hard. It’s not easy learning a new position, a new system. It was challenging. It was one of my toughest challenges, as far as camp. But the team needed me in a big way to fill that position, and I answered the call.”
Even rushing the passer was a little different for Dumervil, who leads the NFL with 17 sacks. The Broncos brought him a bit out of his comfort zone to fit what they needed in the defensive scheme. Denver wanted him to bull rush, or run through the tackle and push him back into the pocket, instead of dart around him.
“I don’t think it’s easy to make a transition like that,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said about the position change. “He’s made it look easy at times.”
Dumervil should be better next year. He said he isn’t playing as fast as he can yet because he is still learning pre-snap reads. Once that happens, he’ll play more on his instincts and play faster.
“I have some things to work toward,” Dumervil said.