DE Smith learning on the fly after trade to Denver

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DE Smith learning on the fly after trade to Denver

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.(AP) — Le Kevin Smith deliberately went through
drills at the Denver Broncos’ practice Wednesday morning, making
sure he got the techniques down right.

The defensive end is playing catch up after Denver acquired him
from New England on Monday for a draft pick. Smith has spent his
first two days of practice working with defensive coordinator
Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely while playing
on the second unit as he gets up to speed on the Broncos’

“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. It’s a lot to digest,
but I think I’m chipping at it slowly,” Smith said. “Coach
Nunnely and coach Nolan are being patient and really working
with me to get the material down.”

The Broncos traded for the 6-foot-3, 308-pound lineman to give
them more athleticism and strength up front in their 3-4
defensive scheme. Smith came from a similar system in New
England, so he thinks the move to Denver will be a smooth

“I just kind of look at it as the job I’ve been doing for the
last three years,” he said. “I haven’t put too much pressure on
it, it’s just work hard and stay consistent on my work ethic.”

He has been looking at the playbook and getting familiar with
the way the 3-4 will work in Denver, but he said the toughest
thing is learning the language in the Broncos’ system.

“Some of the things are similar so I can relate, but knowing
exactly what to do when you hear the word is probably the
toughest thing,” he said. “They’ve already put in most of their
package by now so I’ve got to catch up to everybody else and
learn the new things. Once I learn what’s already in the
playbook it should pick up a little bit.”

Smith isn’t a complete stranger in Denver. Several players on
the roster are former Patriots, including three who were in New
England last year – Jabar Gaffney, LaMont Jordan and Lonie
Paxton. Also, Daniel Graham and Chad Jackson, who also have
professional roots in New England, were on Denver’s roster last

It also helps that new head coach Josh McDaniels was the
Patriots’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons. The
familiarity makes a difference when coming to a new team.

“It helps just because it’s a familiar face and somewhat you
understand what you’re getting yourself into,” Smith said. “All
that plays into helping me fit in easier. Knowing (McDaniels),
knowing a couple of guys on the team is going to make it a
smooth transition.”

Smith was expendable in New England because of the Patriots’
depth on the defensive line. Smith said the glut of talent in
New England didn’t have him thinking he could end up on the
waiver wire at the end of training camp.

“I never thought about it. I felt if I showed up, worked hard
and did my job I have nothing to worry about,” he said. “If
you’re cut, you’re cut. It’s better to be cut because of numbers
than be cut because you can’t play.”

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