A Denver Post column that suggested the Broncos convert to a 3-4 defense didn't ruffle coach John Fox much when he was queried about it after a two-hour practice Tuesday.
"Did Vince Lombardi come back and write that?" Fox asked when the subject was broached.
"I think everybody's entitled to their opinions, but I think we have some fairly proven defensive minds on our staff," Fox said. "We appreciate the suggestions. But I think we might know a little bit more."
Such a conversion would be absurdly unlikely for Fox, who has worked with 4-3 defenses exclusively dating back to a five-season stint as the Giants defensive coordinator from 1997-2001. Jack Del Rio, Denver's defensive coordinator and a Fox assistant with Carolina in 2002, is similarly schooled in the 4-3 alignment. The Broncos also couldn't accomplish the switch without converting DE Elvis Dumervil back to outside linebacker and making Von Miller into a full-time outside linebacker, when he was defensive rookie of the year in a hybrid strongside linebacker/pass-rush defensive end role.
Another look at Ayers: Three weeks after DE Robert Ayers was demoted to the second team in place of Jason Hunter, Ayers saw some first-team repetitions at defensive tackle, mimicking a role that he held last year when he would move inside on pass-rush downs. Ayers' work didn't come at the expense of Derek Wolfe, who had usurped him in the lineup. The two worked together for a few snaps on the first unit.
"Really a lot of our guys have some flexibility, we do move them around so we've got some flexibility throughout the season," said Fox, who declined to comment specifically about Ayers' role.
Not practicing: DE Jason Hunter (torn triceps muscle), RG Chris Kuper (broken forearm), DT Kevin Vickerson (concussion), WRs Andre Caldwell (ribs) and Tyler Grisham (knee) and LBs Mike Mohamed (hamstring), Nate Irving (ribs) and Keith Brooking (hamstring) all sat out. CB Joshua Moore was waived after injuring his ankle last Saturday against the Seahawks.
Back to work: S Jim Leonhard took his first practice repetitions since signing with the Broncos. LB Danny Trevathan, who returned to practice Monday, saw his first-team period work since injuring his ankle Aug. 9, and worked with the second unit at weakslde linebacker. S Quinton Carter saw a handful of first-team repetitions on a rotational basis in his return to full-scale duty, but he remains listed on the second team.
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