Communication a Corner-stone for Adams

“Take care of your corners first,” Mike Adams says he was told by former teammate Tony Parrish in San Francisco early in his career. It’s a lesson he carries to the Broncos several years later.

Mike Adams


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A safety’s ability to communicate with his fellow defensive backs isn’t defined by how loudly he can yell — but often how much he conveys with a pre-snap gesture.

This is where Brian Dawkins excelled throughout his career. This is what the Broncos missed badly when Dawkins was hurt and missed four of the last five games of the 2011 season, including both playoff clashes.

This is why Mike Adams is in Denver. He’s worked on this his entire career.

“I take it very personally,” Adams said. “I learned from Tony Parrish down in San Francisco when I first got into the league; he always told me, ‘Just take care of your corners. Take care of your corners first, make sure when you break the huddle, make sure you and the safety are on the same page and you take care of your corners.’”

With a veteran like Champ Bailey, it’s easy.

“I don’t have to say much to Champ or as far as communication, sometimes we give a nod and he already knows what’s coming,” Adams said.

Said Bailey of Adams: “He’s sharp, he knows his stuff and that’s really what you want from your safeties, to know their stuff and to come out there and kind of get you lined up right.”

With the other defensive backs, more work will be required, and that starts with the Broncos’ work now.

“Film study is one (way to help) just getting the feel and the chemistry. OTAs help. Last year we didn’t have that and OTAs help this year only because we get to build that chemistry,” Adams said.

Already, a look or a gesture is getting the point across to defensive backs other than Bailey.

“I get to look at Tracy (Porter) now and give him a nod and he knows he can jump a route and I can play over top. I won’t have to make a hand signal,” Adams said.

The guidance isn’t reserved for established players, as undrafted rookie safety Duke Ihenacho noted via his Twitter feed:

Duke Ihenacho ‏(@NachoLyfe): Shoutout to @MDOTADAMS20 for trying to help a young rookie like myself become a good player. True vet and leader. #respect

That’s firm evidence of a growing bond that shows why sessions like the ones the Broncos began this week are vital.

“That’s what the offseason’s for, just to get that cohesiveness down, get that camaraderie down, even with the front seven, it’s with everybody. It’s communication all around the board.

“And right now, we had a good start. We had a good practice (Tuesday) and we will get better.”

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on when the site was managed by He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began in 2010 and now contributes to, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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