A pre-season game with the Washington Redskins which left much to be desired by the Bronco's offensive and defensive lines, had one shining spot, number 90, Defensive Tackle Darius Holland.
In his 9th year in the NFL and a veteran of teams such as Green Bay, Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota; this second year Bronco has been all-over-it and lived to tell the tale.
A Super Bowl birth in 1997 while a member of the Packers, was a valuable lesson for the soft-spoken lineman nicknamed the "Dancing Bear". Occasional injuries and the placement of this veteran behind rookies in the depth chart during Bronco pre-season workouts doesn't seem to faze the gentle giant.
At 330lbs. Holland has endured a few injuries over the years, but has managed to glean the best
of each teams work ethic and strategy. He enjoys the banging-around during the two-a-days at Dove Valley (which strain even the youngest rookies). The sweat and the coming together of a defensive line that was deemed 4th best in the conference last year and the leadership of Al Wilson are all noted by the veteran as reasons this season will be the best ever.
Penalties, a few too many injuries and rookies who are just learning the ropes may cause most fans to stutter. Darius knows it's just the pre-season jitters and a matter of time before the defensive unit gels.
I think he's right.
Darius Holland Stats -
Weight: 330 lbs.
Born: in Las Cruces, N.M.
High School: Mayfield High School
Resides: Las Cruces, N.M.
Acquired: Free Agent, 2003
Pro Year: 9th
Year with Broncos: 2nd
NFL Games Played/Started: 109/35
In 109 career games (35 starts) and has made 204 tackles (125 solo), 4.5 sacks, one interception, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. Last season, Holland was part of a defensive unit that finished fourth overall in the NFL and seventh against the rush. Originally drafted by Green Bay in the third round (65th pick overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft, he played three years with the Packers (1995-97). After that, he played with Kansas City and Detroit in 1998, and two seasons with the Cleveland Browns (1999-2000). Released by the Browns during training camp in 2001, Holland was out of football that entire season before signing with the Vikings in 2002. He joined the Broncos on July 29, 2003.