After the2012 seaosn concluded, Denevr Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was one not to mince words with linebacker Nate Irving.
"He looked at me and basically said that I needed to step up," Irving told Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post. "He said that I was good in certain areas, but that wasn't enough. He wanted to see a more vocal player, one that was far more football smart."
Was he right?, Legwold asked. "Oh, yeah, he was right on," Irving replied. "That's everything I have to be right now. All that's been given to me is an opportunity. It's up to me to take advantage of this opportunity."
Denver selected Irving in the third-round pick in the 2011 draft, and always intended on moving him into the middle linebacker spot, a position they're currently in great need of. This is where the 'stepping up' on Irving's part comes into play. "When my number is called, I just want to do everything in my power to let my coaches and my teammates know there is no 'step down' with me," Irving said. "I wanted to step into whatever spot they put me, special teams, on defense or whatever, and just continue to play, to be a guy they trust to be in there. I appreciate every day here."