When a head coach compares a player, it's normally apples-to-apples. However, the Denver Broncos' head man Vic Fangio does things differently.
Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby had a good practice on Sunday as he quietly went about his business as a veteran should. Afterward, his head coach provided his new corner with a very different kind of pat on the back.
“He’s had a good camp. He’s kind of like a good referee—a good referee, you don’t notice,” Fangio said. “There’s a lot of practices out there [where] I don’t notice him until I go put on the tape. You like that out of a corner. Not much business going on over there.”
Corners tend to only get noticed if they make a big play or get burnt deep, so it takes a trained eye to recognize what's happening on film. But if a QB doesn't throw to one side of the field, just like in the Champ Bailey heyday, it's usually an indirect compliment of the highest order.
Darby was GM George Paton’s first major plunge in free agency so it really shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that he is performing this well. Veteran safety Kareem Jackson is one teammate who also noted how Darby is putting in strong outings during camp and considering the former Washington Football player's wealth of experience, it’s not surprising.
“The same thing I’ve seen out of him his entire career,” Jackson said recently. “He’s a veteran guy, plays with great technique, can turn and find the ball in the deep part of the field. He’s been making a lot of plays this camp. Definitely excited to go out there and compete with him.”
Considering the number of dollars committed to the Broncos' secondary this season, the pressure that comes with that could have seen the players pressing early. Instead, it’s been quite the opposite, with a group of veteran guys working hard to get on the same page, and it’s helping rookies like corner Patrick Surtain II and safety Caden Sterns to hit the ground running.
Hopes are high for this unit to be perhaps the best in the league and Darby’s anchor role is already proving crucial to its rapid development. Broncos Country will be excited to see how the secondary performs on Saturday in Minnesota when the real bullets start flying.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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