ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – David Bruton Jr. watched the Denver Broncos sign free agent Darian Stewart after Rahim Moore bolted to the Texans. He’s heard all the chatter about them moving Bradley Roby or Kayvon Webster over from cornerback.
All this offseason scheming and speculation has left the seventh-year pro and special teams ace asking, “What about me?”
Bruton aims to earn a starting job in 2015 for the first time since his senior season at Notre Dame in 2008.
“That’s my goal,” Bruton said. “I feel as though I played extremely well when I had my opportunity last year.”
Bruton capitalized on increased playing time down the stretch in 2014, when he collected all 24 of his tackles from scrimmage over the final month of the season and in the playoffs, including a career-best nine against the Bills.
“I feel confident,” Bruton said. “It’s tough to feel confident when you don’t have that opportunity throughout your last two or three seasons. The fact that I was finally granted that opportunity and now had a chance to shine, I just feel like I’m going into these OTAs, training camp and the season with a huge amount of confidence.”
You can see it in his swagger.
“I feel like my chest may be a little bigger – not from (strength and conditioning coach) Luke (Richesson) making us do pushups all day,” Bruton said. “I envision myself playing a lot more. I envision myself starting. I’m dreaming big this season, especially (in a) contract year.”
Bruton isn’t bedeviled by all the talk of moving Roby over to safety to get his playmaking skills on the field more. Nor was he bothered by the signing of Stewart, whom new coach Gary Kubiak brought along with him from Baltimore.
“I’ve seen it all. Heck, in my third year we drafted two safeties (Moore and Quinton Carter). I could’ve sworn I was out the door then,” Bruton said. “And then every year we’ve moved a corner to safety, whether it’s Omar (Bolden) or talks of Kayvon or Roby or whomever they’re thinking about moving out there from corner to safety. I’ve seen it all. All I can do is keep my head down and keep plugging away.”
Even if he wins the starting free safety job, he won’t give up his duties on special teams, which have always been his forte.
He said he knew he was on the outs in 2011 when the Broncos drafted Moore and Carter. He said his special teams coach at the time told him he had to “make a splash” in the final preseason game just to make the roster.
“And that fueled me up. I go out and block two punts that game. That’s what solidified me staying here that year and then propelled me to continue my career here,” Bruton said. “It’s definitely been very beneficial to play well on special teams and be consistent and be considered a difference-maker on special teams.”
Now, he wants to be known as a difference-maker in the secondary, too.
“They haven’t come out and said anything, but you hear the best guy is going to play,” Bruton said. “I hope that’s true.”
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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