First-year Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph took calls from reporters in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Here are five takeaways from what he said about the team that used to employ him:
1. He’s impressed with Darqueze Dennard’s development.
Joseph, the defensive backs coach for the Bengals in 2014-15, has enjoyed seeing a new-and-improved version of Dennard, who was the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2014.
“He’s playing under control,” Joseph said. “He understands his leverage. He understands the defense. He’s playing with a high football IQ. He looks like a veteran player out there, so that was actually fun to see.”
Often playing inside, Dennard has 49 tackles (third on the team) and two sacks with passes defended and an interception.
“To be a great nickel in this league, it comes with time. Obviously he’s putting the time in and he has definitely grown as a football player.”
2. High praise for a former Buckeye.
Joseph has his own successful Class of 2014 first-round cornerback playing at a high level, too, in Bradley Roby.
“Roby is a talent. You can see this guy every day making plays some guys can’t make.
He’s obviously a young player playing behind two Pro Bowlers, but he’s our third corner so he’s considered a starter,” Joseph said.
Roby, who was an All-American at Ohio State, has 27 tackles and a team-high 10 passes defended with an interception.
“He is a talent and he’s working to become a better player every single day.”
Brandon LaFell said @ohiostatefb alum Bradley Roby could start for any other team in the league— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 15, 2017
3. Cody Latimer brings plenty of value.
The coach of the Broncos raved about the contributions he is getting from Cody Latimer, a Jefferson High graduate who starred at Indiana.
“He’s our third or fourth receiver depending on game plan each week, but he’s a core special teams player and he’s really, really good at those things.”
Latimer has played in six games for the Broncos this season, catching nine passes for 116 yards.
“He’s made a bunch of players on offense for us. He’s made some down-the-field explosive plays for us and he’s been our returner. So Cody has taken on four or five different jobs and he’s excelled at all of them.”
4. Domata Peko’s impact has been just what he hoped for.
Long-time Bengal Domata Peko has found a new home in the middle of the Denver defensive line, making 23 tackles and soaking up blockers so others can excel after leaving Cincinnati as a free agent.
"I knew Domata would fit our locker room as far as being a veteran locker room that’s won a lot of games,” Joseph said. “I knew he would come here and fit in and help lead our football team as a person.
“As a football player I knew as a 3-4 nose guard he could help our run defense.
He’s a smart player, a stout player against the double team. To acquire Domata was a special deal for me having been with him in previous years.
“He’s played really well. He’s obviously helped fix our run defense, so it’s worked out for both parties involved.”
5. What did he take from his time with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis?
“Marvin’s a guy that believes in hard work. That’s Marvin’s MO. His teams work. Marvin’s been there for 15 seasons now. It hasn’t all been good for Marvin but he’s hung in there and flipped that franchise from one that wasn’t recognized to one that everyone recognizes, so that speaks to Marvin’s program and to Marvin trusting the process.”
“Being around Marvin, you learn really quickly you have to trust your process and keep working and keep your team working because it takes work to win in this league.
“That part I learned from Marvin: Every day is a new day, and you have to put the work in to win games and that’s one of Marvin’s strong suits.”