ENGLEWOOD – The most memorable emotion Brian Dawkins had in the final month of last season was anger.
The Broncos’ 2-8 finish, with four losses in a row to end the season, was marred by mental mistakes, Dawkins said. Dawkins said maybe the pressure of a 6-0 start got to the Broncos down the stretch. Whatever happened, he said the feeling of the season slipping away made him mad.
“The whole stretch hurt,” Dawkins said after a passing camp practice Wednesday. “That’ll be in my memory banks. I don’t know if other guys will do that, but that’ll be in my memory banks, the way that thing felt the last part of the year. You don’t want that feeling, ever.”
Dawkins has good reason to still feel pain from 2009. He has never won a Super Bowl and turns 37 in October. Time is not on his side as he enters his 15th season.
Dawkins said he likes new defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, and thinks the improvements on the defensive line will help the entire defense. During the final month of the season Denver allowed 241 and 317 rushing yards to Oakland and Kansas City, respectively.
The Broncos aren’t going to be favored to win the AFC West this season, but that’s fine with Dawkins.
“Being under the radar is a great thing. People that count you out and talk about what you’re not going to do, that’s a great thing. I’ve reveled in that many, many times. Continue to tell us what we’re not going to be able to do and how this is now where it needs to be – we’ll take that.”
Justin Bannan was one of the defensive linemen signed to improve the defensive front. He knows about last year’s late-season failures, and that hasn’t been completely forgotten in the locker room.
“You don’t want to live in the past, but every once in a while you touch on it,” Bannan said. “You need to address the problem and fix it. We’ve done that, and now it’s time to live in the present and move on.”
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