Brian Dawkins: No. 20 S
Born: Oct. 13, 1973 Jacksonville, Fla.
Experience: 14th season
High School: William M. Raines HS [Jacksonville, FL]
Over the course of Brian Dawkins' career (all of which he has spent in Philly until now) he has been given several nicknames. The majority of Philly fans simply refered to him as B-Dawk, but Dawkins has also been called "The Beast," "Weapon-X," and "Wolverine."
Wolverine, the low-key leader of the X-Men, is known for his animal-keen senses that allow him to track his adversaries with great ease, very much like Brian Dawkins hunts down opposing ball carriers and receivers delivering earth shattering train-wreck hits.
Dawkins senses are sharp, too. With 34 interceptions and 21 sacks over the course of his career, B-Dawk is one of four players in the history of the NFL to post at least 32 interceptions and 18 sacks, joining the company of Leroy Butler (38 INTs, 20.5 sacks), Rodney Harrison (34, 30.5) and Ronde Barber (37, 23).
One thing that can always be said about Dawkins is that he comes to play. While a mild-mannered, calm, and confident person off the field, when Dawkins steps out onto the field, he transforms into a beast. He becomes a loud, pumped up, vocal leader.
"Weapon-X," a man possessed, who cannot wait to get out there and make receivers pay for trying to go across the middle, to make running backs think twice before deciding to run to his side of the field, and get into a quarterback’s head knowing that he could be coming for him at any point in time.
After making a big play, B-Dawk will often celebrate (as defensive players sometimes do) with a bit of a pose, as he seemingly draws energy from the crowd as they show their appreciation for his fine play.
Dawkins, being unabashed and unashamed about his faith, will also be heard shouting “Hallelujah!” and pointing his index finger skyward at INVESCO field in thanks and recognition to the Lord for blessing him with the ability to play the great game of football.
While the Eagles organization may not realize just how great of a player that they let slip through their fingers, the Eagles fans sure do. When the news broke back in February that Dawkins had signed with the Denver Broncos, the fans in Philly were in complete and total disbelief.
You had people crying on the news they were so distraught. That is the kind of impact that Dawkins is capable of having on a city.
Eagles fans will tell you, Dawkins in no joke.
A seven time Pro Bowler, including an appearance in 2008, Dawkins has proven that he can still play at an elite level.
Despite being a defensive back in his mid-30’s, there has not been a dip in Dawkins production on the field. In fact, over the past five seasons, he has averaged 70 tackles (58 solo) 2.1 sacks, and 2.6 interceptions.
Dawkins shows no signs of slowing down either. If anything his resolve has been strengthened by his change of scenery, and looks forward to the opportunity to prove himself to his new coaches and new teammates.
B-Dawk also has a small chip on his shoulder, and looks to prove wrong those who doubted his ability.
I expect Coach Nolan to utilize "Weapon-X" in ways that play to his strengths, which should mean big plays in the form of sacks, turnovers, and big hits.
In a denverbroncos.com article, Ronnie Fields had this to say about the defense that Mike Nolan is installing in Denver: “It's not really the usual 3-4, it's an attack 3-4, it's like an offensive mindset. Some people play the 3-4 different; they're more like 'sit back and wait.' But as far as us, we attack.”
With that in mind I expect Nolan to use B-Dawk to Blitz the quarterback, move around, and confuse the offense. Maybe place Dawkins in some robber coverage where he can use his instincts to pick off the ball in a very Ed Reed kind of way.
Dawkins will also be asked to be a teacher and a mentor to the young defensive backs who the Broncos recently acquired, a task he is more than qualified to accomplish.
If I was Darcell McBath, David Bruton, Josh Barrett, Alphonso Smith, Josh Bell, Jack Williams, D.J. Johnson, or Tony Carter, I would be thrilled to be able to learn from Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. I would watch them incessantly, pick their brains, ask for advice, and soak up as much as I could.
If even a little bit of Champ and B-Dawk rub off on any of these young guys, the future of the Denver Broncos secondary will look pretty bright.
In the shorter term, though, Dawkins joins a secondary that has been reloaded with experienced players who know how to play in the National Football League.
In Nolan’s attacking style defense, they will have a mandate to create turnovers and limit the ground they give up. As the strong safety, Dawkins ability to read the play and attack the run will play a huge role in making that happen.
Regardless of all the change and scheme and age, I think that Denver can expect B-Dawk to be B-Dawk. He is going to prepare, play explosively, and create havoc for the opposing team. "Weapon-X" is going to live up to his name as the X-Factor of the defense.
He brings leadership, experience, poise, intensity, big play ability, and character. On the field he will play like a beast, giving it his all. Off the field he will conduct himself as an upstanding member of the community.
Denver can expect big things from B-Dawk in 2009.