With new coach Vic Fangio calling the shots on defense in 2019, Wolfe is already howling in delight.
“[I’m] falling in love with the defense actually. Last time I felt this was when I was first introduced to Wade [Phillips’] defense,” Wolfe told reporters Thursday. “I almost feel like I was born to play this defense. I was telling my wife that last night. She was like you know it’s your contract year, where are we going to be, this and that. I feel like I was born for this defense, so I don’t think we have anything to worry about.”
Wolfe tallied just 3.5 sacks in 27 games in the two seasons after Phillips left his post as Denver’s defensive coordinator for the same one in Los Angeles. In Phillips’ two years with the Broncos (2015-16), Wolfe recorded 11 sacks, and Denver won a Super Bowl.
The defensive end thinks with Fangio, most recently the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears‘ No. 1 scoring defense, in charge that he, and by extension the Broncos, will experience a renaissance by playing within Fangio’s system.
“If you don’t play within the defense — if you don’t do what you’re told and do your job — you’re going to get s—canned anyways,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe will earn around $8.6 million in 2019, after which he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
“You have to go earn that next check,” the 29-year-old defensive end added. “The thing about contract years is it can go two ways. Some guys they’ll play selfish and not be so team-oriented or they’ll do everything they’re told to do and it ends up working well for them.
“I think that we saw what happened in 2015 when all of those contracts were up, and we had the best defense in the league — the best defense to ever play in my opinion. The things that we overcame that year I think we earned the spot to be the best defense to ever play the game. We had a lot of guys on their contract year. We had a lot of guys that they didn’t play selfish football. They did their job and it worked out for all of us.”
Denver’s organized team activities wrap up on Friday before mandatory minicamp begins on Tuesday.