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Published on 03/06/2009 at Fri Mar 06 10:03.
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Free agent defensive end Marques Douglas.

Free agent defensive end Marques Douglas.

The other morning I had the privilege of interviewing free agent defensive lineman Marques Douglas over the phone to discuss a few questions regarding a myriad of topics. Douglas played under Mike Nolan for both the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, and could be on Denver’s radar. He was a very well-spoken, humble guy and it was a real pleasure talking to him. Douglas runs a blog of his own for Yardbarker, which you can find here.  Thanks to the folks at YB and Mr. Douglas for taking the time.  Enjoy!

What types of qualities do you have as a player and a person that would make you a quality fit for the Denver Broncos both on and off the field? Secondly, what do you feel are the best aspects of your overall game?

I’m an accountable player that will play every down like it is my last. I’ve played under Coach Nolan and have experience in the 3-4 defense. Another big thing is consistency. Throughout my career I’ve been a consistent player who has always laid it on the line. Football is a team game, and sacrificing yourself for the betterment of your teammates allows for a very productive Sunday. I’ve also played against the All-Pro players in the NFL that get the best out of me.

Have you or your agent been in contact with the Denver Broncos regarding the possibility of signing with the team?

I know my agent has been contacting several teams, and right now he is getting the word out and hopefully something happens within the next few days. I feel that I’m a productive player that would definitely fit into Nolan’s 3-4 schemes in Denver. I was very successful and had my best years playing under him. I’d love to play for him again.

What is your most memorable NFL moment to date?

The AFC Championship Game this year. When you get that close to the Super Bowl, and when you realize that every down you play is important – it made it a memorable experience. We played hard to get to the playoffs, and we played hard to get to the Super Bowl, and though we fell short, playing in that atmosphere was very memorable.

Everybody knows football is a physically intensive sport. However, mentality plays a large role in it as well. How do you mentally prepare week in and week out?

Mentally, preparation starts at the beginning of the week. Studying film is an important aspect of it. By studying your opponents on film, you get to know their tendencies and by knowing those tendencies you have confidence moving forward into Sunday.

After the 2006 season you took a trip to Afghanistan to support the troops. How was that experience for you?

It was an amazing experience to get together with a bunch of guys, support our troops and promote democracy. We spent about thirty hours on planes going everywhere. The troops were very thankful and appreciative for us being there, and I think I learned and took more away some things from them through the process.

You have played under Mike Nolan on several occasions. You were there when Baltimore made the 3-4 transition; and you followed him to San Francisco. Looking at the statistics, you always excelled under his tutelage. In lieu of that, there are several questions I have.

How do players respond to Mike Nolan in the locker room? What are the things that set him apart from other defensive coordinators in the league?

Mike Nolan is a great teacher and someone who listens to players. He has a knack for putting players in a role where they are going to succeed. He has a unique coaching style, and he truly cares and wants to know what his players on defense are thinking. A lot of coaches out there are different and don’t have that aspect. He gets his players involved as much as possible. For example, he wants to know how his players feel about back-end coverage, and he wants to get creative with creating pressure up front.

He knows how to game plan and he knows how and where to put players in order for them to succeed. He brings a sense of youth and enthusiasm to the field that not all coaches have. He knows how to study opposing offenses and attack them correctly. His personality, knowledge of the game and ability to manage a defense has made him one of the most successful coordinators there is, and players respond positively to that.

How would you best describe Nolan’s overall defensive scheme?

You could compare and contrast his scheme to that of the Dallas Cowboy’s that also runs the 3-4. In Nolan’s scheme, you don’t need the big 6’7 guys up front at the end to succeed. His defense is more of an attacking, penetration defense that utilizes speed and athleticism, not necessarily size. It is a style of defense that can bring about big plays and also extend the careers of players. It is different than a one gap defense that you see in a 4-3. At its basic package, it is a two-gap defense. When it gets switched up, you will see a lot of slanting and movement in and out of the gaps.

As you might be aware, the Broncos are making the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4. How easy do you think this transition will be? What type of expectations should Broncos fans have in regards to this move?

There will be a transition, but what some of the players there lack in knowledge – they’ll make up through practice and working with others who have a familiarity with the system. It’s a scheme that is very successful; just take a look at the teams who went far into the playoffs and made the Super Bowl; Pittsburgh and Arizona both utilized 3-4 man fronts. When you have people buy into the system, it certainly helps the transition. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, because it will take time; but when implemented properly – it is very effective.

The Broncos have added savvy veterans like Andra Davis, Andre Goodman, Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Ronald Fields and Darrell Reid to the defense who have a familiarity with the 3-4. How would you feel about joining this free agent class?

I know both Ronald Fields and Brian Dawkins and they are both tremendous players. Being back with Coach Nolan would be great. His game plans are very in-depth and effective and I would be excited to be there. I think I’d be a natural fit, I had my best seasons of my career under Coach Nolan.

Who is the toughest player you’ve faced in the NFL?

Willie Roaf. I had a chance to be his teammate in New Orleans and have the privilege of playing against him when he was in Kansas City. Easily the best I went against.

The Broncos have a lot of young defensive lineman such as Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Elvis Dumervil on their roster. What could you do to help these players if you signed in Denver?

I’d help them by leading by example. I’m not the kind of guy to say, “Do it like this.” Encouraging them to study film, helping them adjust to lining up in a two-gap stance and improve aspects of the game like technique would help as well.

Other than a familiarity with Coach Nolan, what about Denver interests you?

I’ve been to Denver several times and it is a great city. It’s very nice and scenic. For the team, they have a high powered offense that can score all the time. They are in a great conference with teams like Kansas City and San Diego and to play against players like LT and go up against those offensive lines would be fun.

You played your college ball at Howard, didn’t get much exposure and weren’t drafted. What kind of advice do you have for players coming out through the draft, especially from smaller schools?

It is a very long and extensive process. You have the combine and pro days where you can showcase your abilities. I didn’t have an invite to the combine. The best advice I can give is to be humble and tread the waters carefully. If somebody asks you something, answer honestly. Remember it is not a right, but a privilege to play in the NFL. You must be willing to learn and through mistakes, have a piece of humble pie every now and then.

  • inrodwetrust

    Good interview, this guy sounds like he fits the prototypical mold of a player in Josh McD’s system. Smart, humble, and a good communicator. We need all the chemistry we can get with the recent upset on offense, and a punishing orange crush defense will bring back our winning ways. I would also like to see us get a large somewhat no name free agent receiver like Malcom Floyd from the chargers and/or Hank Basket from the eagles. Because I doubt BMarsh will be a bronco for long and McD’s system needs lots of wideouts

  • Mr.East

    Douglas sounds like a great guy. I hope they bring him in for an interview of their own.

  • Kyle

    Excellent job Chris! Loved the interview, and if we end up snagging him I’d have a goofy little smile on my face.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    If only for his experience in Nolan’s system and our need for bodies in the position, I hope we’re taking a look at this guy. I have this fear that we could linger in transitional limbo for a couple seasons… I want to start winning while our core is young

  • conductormann

    Wow inrodwetrust, I love your idea of Hank Basket. My brother in law was his coach in college and they remain great friends. It should say something when your coaches root for you and keep in contact. He is a big play guy.

  • NathanH

    Great interview!! Marques sounds like a class act, and we need the depth on the line. I for one would be happy bringing in a guy like him. I’ve always liked small college guys, because like he says, they tend to play every down like its their last.

  • MileHigh55

    DE – Marques Douglas / Kalimba Edwards / Igor Olshansky / Jerome McDougle / DT – Shaun Cody / Tank Johnson / Kenderick Allen

    Why are these players not being brought into Denver for a look at. Last time I remembered we were in need of D Line help. We can draft RB better than Jordan , Arrington , Buckhalter and they would be younger faster and cheaper than all 3 of them .

    Sorry to me the RB pickups were a waste of money . I would have taken at least 2 D Line from the picks above and only 1 RB. Bad move a McDummies part .

  • Richard

    What Marqes Douglas is describing is almost an exact description of Joe Collier’s base 3-4. Love it! Orange Crush II, the sequel. I’m sure it will take some time to implement correctly, but I have some real fond memories of the Broncos D from the 70’s and early 80’s.

  • Ian Henson


    That’s what I was thinking…

  • Horvil Tiki

    hey guy we gon get this guy? when is he sined already. it defence all start up from you knowed what I saying.

  • NathanH

    In other news- Olshansky and Dallas worked out a 4 year deal.

  • DC

    I wish we would play in our Orange Jerseyz every home game. They are the shiznit!

  • BroncoinVA9986

    I am too young to remember those days sorry guys

  • DC
  • Richard

    NathanH I’m glad Olshansky is now signed with someone other than us. He stinks. Thanks for the info.

    Now if we could convince some of the posters that we don’t need a RB in the first round of the draft.

  • Richard

    Ian Henson ever wonder what would have happened if Shanny kept the 3-4 instead of switching to the 4-3 in 1995? Assume we still win the 2 superbowls.

  • Awesome, Austin

    Hire him.

  • broncoNM

    Hell ya! Bring in Hank Baskett. He has good hands and size. I have no idea where he got his speed once he got to the pro’s cause i dont remember him being so fast in college. I am bias for any Lobo but as a UNM season ticket holder I watched Baskett alot and he impressed. Nice guy off the field too.

  • RVG10

    DC –

    Did you see Brian Dawkins’ press conference? He held up an orange #20 jersey! That may be a pretty strong indication that we will wear orange at home this season. I bet our 1st day draft picks will hold up orange jerseys on draft day too!

  • jchase8410

    Olshanaky does not stink, he is a really good player. good lck to him

  • mikebirty

    if Mr Douglas signs with the orange and blue, are we going to get a cut of the signing fee? Would pay for a nice little broncotalk preseason party.

  • Richard

    jchase8410 Olshansky stinks. We need 3-4 De very badly, and we have his position coach on our team.We didn’t even bother to interview him. And have you asked yourself why San Die-ego didn’t bother to resign him? They need DE’s also. Its because he STINKS.

  • Anthony33

    Agree with your comments 100% on the RB’s. All three are well below average running backs and are no better than what we have or had. For the same money or less they could have snagged Ward and we would be set. I don’t understand the thinking on that one at all.

  • (dee)

    Report: TO signs in Buffalo , I guess Ralph Wilson is getting desperate to win now …

  • (dee)


    How would you classify Andre Hall, Selvin Young, and Michael Pittman? Average? or above

  • (dee)

    Ward will be useless in 2 years… hes 28 going on 29 … I dont think he will be useful … Hes in Tampa as well where Running Backs go to die!

  • Richard

    dee I would classify them as history, not because I do or don’t like them. McD doesn’t think they can do it, and his is the only vote that counts.

  • (dee)


    I’m just trying to point out that this crop of RB is abou the same as last year’s crop. It’s apparent that McD doesn’t need a workhorse Rb, and even if he did he could develop Hillis or Torain into that role, this is why I was not exicited nor disappointed with the RB signings.

    I just hope draft wise its all defense.

  • Richard

    dee Yes Defense!

  • Anthony33

    I would classify Hall, Young and Pittman as below average in the Shanahan system. I see no better than that in what they picked up.

  • myerda00

    Milehigh55 and Anthony33, I can not disagree because I am not an NFL talent evaluator, like you guys.
    I will state that if other teams have not interviewed the ones you listed then maybe they are not that good.
    Remember the McD and X (along with the Kidd) are looking for certain TYPE players.
    Let the selections (FA and the draft) play out before you bring more negativety to our changing Broncos.
    Remember, the Broncos have not won for over three+ years.

  • Anthony33

    uh myerdaOO,
    It’s called an opinion. You don’t have to be a “NFL talent evaluator” to read stats and watch a few games and form an opinion.

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