Denver Broncos Ring of Famer Dennis Smith joined Ryan Edwards, Andrew Mason, and Steve Atwater on Orange and Blue 760 today. The guys on 1st and 10 at 10 spoke with Smith about the Broncos new coaching staff, reading defenses, and Atwater’s Hall of Fame snub.
While Smith had some interesting observations about the Super Bowl, and reading defenses, it was his conversation with the guys about the Hall of Fame that was the most intriguing.
When Champ Bailey was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame he became the first defensive player for the Denver Broncos to make it to the Hall of Fame. That was shocking to Smith, too.
Think of all the great defenders in Broncos history. Names like Gradishar, Wright, Jackson, Mecklenburg, and Tombstone (to name a few) have been overlooked for too long. It is unbelievable that Bailey is the first defensive player to go into the Hall of Fame for the Broncos.
Without taking anything away from the greatness of Bailey, Smith had an interesting take on the merits of Atwater over Champ. As a corner, Bailey was great, but Smith noted that teams can gameplan away from great corners, limiting their impact on the game. Great safeties are more difficult to eliminate from a game.
For Smith, this was reason enough to put Atwater ahead of Bailey in regards to the Hall of Fame. Perhaps Smith is biased, having played with Atwater. And Bailey’s greatness is undeniable. He is obviously a first ballot Hall of Famer. This was just an interesting take on the importance of the safety position, and why Atwater should have already been enshrined in Canton.