MOORE PENALTIES: No Bronco has given up more penalty yardage so far this season than second-year safety Rahim Moore, and only seven players league-wide have accounted for more yardage in infractions than Moore’s 30 through two weeks.
Flags are a relatively recent problem for Moore. He wasn’t called for any penalties during his five-game starting stint to open the 2011 season before being benched for Quinton Carter, but drew two 15-yard penalties when injuries forced him back into the defensive lineup at Buffalo in Week 16 and New England in the divisional playoffs.
Moore and Philadelphia’s Phillip Hunt are the only two players with multiple personal foul/unnecessary roughness infractions through the first two weeks. While every call from the replacement officials is justifiably scrutinized — and some court controversy — both of Moore’s infractions were legitimate by the letter of the rule book, even if his helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders in Week 1 appeared unavoidable.
“We obviously want to play clean. We want to try and teach in a way that we won’t be penalized and we’re working hard to do that,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “We’ll continue to stress the things that we need to do to play a clean game.
“(We) don’t want to penalize ourself. We work too hard to get the offenses slowed down to penalize ourself. We’ve had a couple of those and we’re coaching them up and correcting them. We expect to do that better going forward.”
Moore’s penalty predilection bears watching, especially in light of the shift at linebacker for Week 2, where Wesley Woodyard was relieved of his base package weak-side duties in favor of veteran Keith Brooking. Del Rio and Fox won’t be timid about making lineup shifts, and the safety competition was wide open to start training camp anyway, with Moore, Carter and Mike Adams dividing up the first-team repetitions.
FOR OPENERS, NO CHAMP: Overlooked in the 27-21 loss was that Champ Bailey was not officially in the starting lineup, owing to the defense opening the game in a goal-line package after Peyton Manning was intercepted on the third play from scrimmage.
Until Monday, Bailey had started all 195 NFL games in which he’d played.
Bailey played in 65 of 69 snaps against the Falcons, surpassed by linebacker Von Miller and safety Mike Adams. Adams leads the Broncos in defensive work, having played on 149 of 150 snaps the last two weeks.
Six offensive players have played every snap this year: Manning, plus the first-team offensive line of Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Manny Ramirez and Orlando Franklin.
DUMERVIL UNCONCERNED: After not posting a sack until November in 2011, Elvis Dumervil isn’t fretting over going two games without a sack.
Last year, Dumervil opened the season coming off a torn pectoral muscle, then suffered an ankle injury that hindered him early and cost him two games. After breaking through against the Raiders in Week 9, he started a sprint that saw him post at least a half-sack in eight consecutive games, allowing him to finish the year with 9.5 sacks and make the Pro Bowl.
“I’ve been here last year in this situation. When it comes, it comes in bunches,” he said.
“Trust me, I do understand that in order for us to get to where we want to get to, I have to get my production up in sacks. But we’ve got 14 more games in the regular season. I’ll have my chances.”