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Defensive Line Coach Jacob Burney


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Jun 30, 2009
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Defensive Line Coach Jacob Burney

Jacob Burney's Bronco Bio Page

Jacob Burney enters his seventh season coaching the Denver Broncos’ defensive line in 2008 and will work with Bill Johnson in instructing a talented defensive front. Burney joined the Broncos in 2002 following successful stints with Carolina (1999-2001) and the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (1994-98). He has coached 14 seasons in the NFL and has forged a reputation as a vocal leader for his players and one who takes a hands-on approach to his teaching.

With Burney working with their defensive line since 2002, the Broncos rank eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed (104.8) and have ranked among the league’s top-5 clubs in rush defense three times during those six seasons. His defensive lines have helped the Broncos place seventh in the NFL during that period in third-down defense (36.9%), a total that includes consecutive top-3 league rankings from 2003-04.

Burney’s instruction also has helped defensive end Elvis Dumervil develop into one of the game’s top pass rushers with his 21 sacks since entering the NFL in 2006 marking the sixth-highest total in the league.

In 2007, Burney coached a Denver defensive line that led the AFC (T-2nd in the NFL) with nine takeaways as his group totaled seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Dumervil continued his improvement under Burney, tying for sixth in the NFL with 12.5 sacks (most by a Bronco in eight seasons) and tying for the league lead in takeaways (4) among defensive linemen.

Burney coached defensive ends for the Broncos in 2006, a year in which Denver was the only AFC team and one of just three clubs in the NFL to have three defensive ends post at least six sacks. Dumervil, in his first season, thrived under the veteran coach’s instruction with his team-high 8.5 sacks marking the third most by a rookie in Broncos history and the third-highest total among league rookies for the year.

In 2005, Denver’s defensive line was pivotal in the club posting a 13-3 record and capturing the AFC West title en route to advancing to the AFC Championship Game. As defensive line/ends coach, Burney instructed a group that helped Denver rank second in the NFL in run defense, allowing only 85.2 yards per game. Denver held two opponents to less than 20 rushing yards in a game, including its contest at Jacksonville (10/2/05) in which it allowed the second-fewest rushing yards (12) in a game in franchise history.

Burney’s line once again proved to be one of the NFL’s top units in 2004 as its play helped the Broncos’ defense rank fourth in the NFL for the second consecutive season. The Broncos’ run defense also ranked fourth in the league, surrendering an average of only 94.5 yards per game. Despite the absence of All-Pro lineman Trevor Pryce for most of the year, the Broncos maintained a solid pass rush throughout the season with defensive end Reggie Hayward racking up a career and team-high 10.5 sacks to rank third in the AFC.

In 2003, Burney’s line was a major force on a defense that finished the season ranked among the NFL’s best in several categories. The defense only allowed 277.1 yards a game, which ranked fourth in the NFL, and set a franchise record for third-down defense (29.5%) to place third in the league for that statistic. Defensive end Bertrand Berry led the team with a career-high 11.5 sacks (52 yds.), and Pryce added 8.5 sacks (47 yds.).

Similar results came about in 2002 when the line helped the defense finish the season sixth in the NFL in yards allowed (301.6 ypg.) and fourth against the run (93.1 ypg.). Burney’s line was represented in the Pro Bowl by Pryce, who made his fourth consecutive trip after leading the team with nine sacks.

During Burney’s tenure as defensive line coach in Carolina (1999-01), the Panthers showed a knack for creating turnovers with the defense posting 74 takeaways from 2000-01 that ranked as the fourth-highest total in the NFL during that period. In 2001, Burney coaxed a breakout season from third-year defensive end Mike Rucker, who posted a career-high and team-leading nine sacks. Under Burney’s tutelage, Rucker developed into a full-time starter and set a record for sacks by a Panthers defensive lineman. Before his stint in Carolina, Burney spent five seasons (1994-98) with the Cleveland Browns / Baltimore Ravens franchise as its defensive line coach. He was hired by the Browns in 1994 and oversaw a defensive line that contributed to a defense that allowed only 204 points, nine rushing touchdowns and 3.6 yards per carry that season.

With Baltimore in 1998, Burney helped develop defensive lineman Michael McCrary into a Pro Bowl starter and contributed to a Ravens defensive unit that ranked sixth in the NFL against the run. Burney, 49, enjoyed a successful 11-year coaching career on the collegiate level before entering the NFL coaching ranks in 1994. It began at the University of New Mexico (1983-86) and continued with stints at the University of Tulsa (1987), Mississippi State University (1988), the University of Wisconsin (1989), UCLA (1990-92) and the University of Tennessee (1993). Each of those appointments was as defensive line coach with the exception of the Mississippi State job in which he coached the inside linebackers.

A standout player himself, Burney was a four-year starter on the defensive line at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he helped the Moccasins to four Southern Conference championships and a four-year record of 33-9-2. He picked up All-Southern Conference honors in each of his final three seasons and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the school in 1981. Burney had tryouts with the Detroit Lions in 1981 and 1982.

A native of Chattanooga, Tenn. (1/24/59), Burney was a three-sport star at Tyner High School in Chattanooga, earning all-state honors in football, wrestling, and track and field. He and his wife, Madrinna Patton, have two sons, Jacob and Benjamin, and reside in Lone Tree, Colo. Burney’s son Jacob was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive tackle at Bucknell University (2002-05) while Benjamin is a senior safety at the University of Colorado.

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