ENGLEWOOD, CO—On Monday, the Denver Broncos began their 2015 offseason conditioning program. Speaking with assorted media after his workout, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware spoke about his renewed enthusiasm for football, his reunion with Wade Phillips, and what he expects his role to be for the Broncos this season.
For veterans like Ware, getting back in the weight room can be a monotonous process. However, on Monday, Ware made it clear how important it is for players of any age to stay in shape, and build their bodies for the upcoming season.
“I think when it’s time to work, you’ve just got to think about when that time comes that you’re ready,” he said. “Guys have been working out ever since the last game that we lost and they hadn’t really put the weights down, me being one of those guys because I’m ready. I’m ready for that time to come and it’s here right now, so we’re looking forward to it this year.”
This offseason, Ware’s been reunited with Wade Phillips, his former head coach. Phillips’ unique approach to the 3-4 defense is built around emphasizing individual players’ strengths. Ware seemed thrilled to have the opportunity to play in it again.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I think when you think about a pass rusher, you always think about how many times you get to rush the passer and in Wade’s defense, I know I’m going to get a lot of opportunities, especially guys like Von, having him now not dropping as much. He’s going to be rushing the passer on the strong side; he’s going to be playing Sam. And it’s just knowing now you’re not going to have a chipper a majority of the time, because if they want to chip, we’re going to bring other guys. And that’s going to help out guys getting one-on-ones and be able to really create some havoc out there.”
Ware is near the top of the Broncos locker room leadership structure. However, it’s fellow team captain Peyton Manning who took up much of the discussion following Monday’s workout. Ware expressed how he views Manning’s role in the locker room, and how often the two veterans have discussed the nature of being a leader on a competitive team.
“We usually do,” Ware said. “Maybe we’ll have a talk once a week about what do you think about the offense or what do you think about the defense or the workout program? We’re always on the same page. It’s about just getting out there and doing it and making sure the guys are on the same page. We’re always putting ourselves into a position where at the end of the day, ‘Hey, you played 11 years and you played 17 years and you’re still doing it.’ They still have no choice but to follow you. Just really having that mentality and doing it every day.”
This is a Broncos team with the same “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality they’ve had for the last three seasons. However, they face a number of new challenges that could make this season the most difficult one in the Peyton Manning era. Ware says the disappointing results for the Broncos in January have a great deal to do with what happens in these April workouts.
“I tell the younger guys when they first come in, usually the younger guys are the most athletically inclined guys to where you just don’t have to work on it too much,” Ware said. “They’re usually fast or strong. They come in and say, ‘I don’t have to stretch today. I just ate McDonalds before I came here.’ I sit right here and I tell them, ‘You have to stretch before you work out. You have to make sure you do these types of workouts because during the season, if you don’t get your body prepared for it, you’re going to be one of those guys where you’re going to get those ankle injuries or those leg injuries.’”
”Injuries are part of football,” Ware continued, “but you have to get your body really equipped for that. And they listen. They listen to that. I tell them I’ve been in the league for 11 years. I never take any time off. I’m always working out and doing what I need to do to keep my body sustained the whole time because you don’t want to have that lull period to where you get out of shape and you’re going to hurt yourself. The offseason is very important.”
However, that doesn’t mean the eleven year vet wants to get into pads and start bashing heads this early in the spring. For Ware, this time of year is dedicated to healing, growing, and getting his body prepared to compete come September.
“I think right now I’m not,” he said. “I’m not wanting put the pads on right now. When it comes time to put the pads on, believe me, I’ll be totally ready.”
In the video below, Brandon Perna measures the Broncos free agent departures and acquisitions of 2014, including DeMarcus Ware.
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