Not all Broncos were disappointed when Charles Woodson signed with the Oakland Raiders.
Not that Mike Adams was afraid, mind you. A little confused, maybe. Slightly annoyed, even. But had Woodson showed up at Broncos headquarters and not Alameda, Calif., to sign contract papers Wednesday, Adams would have showed up the next day and shook the newcomer's hand.
"I came in '04 as an undrafted free agent," Adams said. "How many people did you think I had to beat out as rookie to make the roster? I never had it where I walked into a job. Never in my whole career."
Adams is 32 and going into his 10th NFL season. It's his second consecutive season as the Broncos' starting strong safety. He had a career year in 2012, posting personal bests in tackles (80), pass deflections (11), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (two). He even got the first sack- safety of his NFL career.
He notched every category except for an interception.
"And that's all my fault," Adams said. "I dropped a pick in Oakland. I dropped a pick in Atlanta. I dropped a pick against Houston. Those are three picks right there that I dropped."
Interceptions, or playmaking ability, are the primary reasons the Broncos pursued Woodson. When the Broncos on the front end apply pressure on the quarterback, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio wants turnovers on the back end. The Broncos tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks last season, yet their safety tandem of Rahim Moore and Adams combined for only one interception.
Woodson turns 37 this season and his collarbone keeps breaking, but he had the rare defensive back double-double of 26 interceptions and 10½ sacks in his previous five seasons with Green Bay.
The Broncos wanted some of that.
"As a competitor, it all weighs in the back of your mind," Adams said. "What's going to happen next? What's going to happen to me next? Because you never know what they're thinking upstairs. At the end of the day, my thought was, 'Let's go compete.' "
It's often said the NFL is a "What have you done for me lately?" league. Denver's safety position took this insecurity to an extreme. The safeties weren't spectacular last season, but were solid. The Broncos wouldn't have gone 13-3, wouldn't have won 11 in a row and wouldn't have finished with the No. 2-ranked defense if they were vulnerable in the secondary.
But they didn't win the Super Bowl last season — and everybody knows why they didn't get there.