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Published on 08/25/2008 at Mon Aug 25 17:21.
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Denver BroncoTalk Blog

It looks as if Nate Webster has beaten Niko Koutouvides out at middle linebacker. Coach Mike Shanahan announced just that this afternoon and added:

“It was a very close competition,” Shanahan concluded. “Both guys I look at as starters. Both guys will help as special teams but it was nip and tuck.”

Shanahan went on to say that Koutouvides would play the entire game on Friday versus the Arizona Cardinals; to get a better feel for the defense. Basically answering the question some may be asking, before they were able to ask it. Koutouvides will play backup to Webster because he was not able to gel with the defense just yet.

One area that will immediately improve, due to this “nip and tuck,” as Shanahan refers to it, will be the Denver Broncos special teams. Koutouvides is and always has been a formidable force on kickoff and punt returns. Stopping the run and preventing teams from starting drives on their own 40-45 yard-line was the primary reason the Broncos spent so much bringing in Koutouvides and getting all those rookies during and after the draft.

Nate Webster was second last season for Denver in tackles and 33rd in the AFC with 87 as the Sam linebacker.

From what I saw this seems to be the right move, I’ve explained it before, but Nate Webster seems to just run around busting skulls like a mad man. Where as Niko Koutouvides seemed to play with more finesse, but he got beat… a lot, on passes and that can’t happen.

  • Truman

    Someone had to win the job but this isn’t a feel good win for Bronco fans. Neither guy particularly stood out positively. More of a lost job than a won one.

  • Ian Henson

    Very good insight, it’s unfortunate that this is the case.

  • ryan

    I definitely felt Webster stood out in a postitive way. That little bugger brings it, and is always near the ball.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I really felt like Webster was cleaning up his game.

    That said, it also felt like K2 was better at being a director. While he isn’t as physically gifted as Webster and wasn’t as in on as many plays, K2 seems to be better at directing traffic and people seemed less generally out of position when K2 was in.

  • OC Bronco

    Although I am tired of Shanahan paying the wrong free agents big money I am sure K2 will make us better on special teams and gives us needed depth at a critical position. What I like is that Shanahan is not afraid to make a tough call when he has paid a player all that money. It makes him look bad when that player doesn’t come through and that does not phase him when determining who should be playing. I dig that about Shanahan!

  • Ian Henson

    Webster also has injury issues and it seems what the Broncos did at a lot of positions this off-season is secure a backup that is as close to the starting talent wise as it gets.

  • Jon Krause

    Well wanted Niko to start…I don’t really care for Nate, but I am glad that we at least finally made the decision

  • myerda00

    Both are avergae MIKE players. Some above thought Nate won becaue Niko could not cover. JUST IN: neither can cover or will be in nickle/dime coverages.
    I was hoping Spencer Larsen would stepup. We will keep an eye on FA because we need a MIKE.