Since the hiring of Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator was announced earlier this year, we've all been champing at the bit to see Denver Broncos outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller in action.
We caught our first full glimpse of Ware and Miller working together in Phillips' 3-4 scheme in Week 1 vs. the Baltimore Ravens and the results were flat out amazing. It's almost unfair. They accounted for a combined 17 quarterback pressures—hits, hurries and sacks.
They were a constant menace to Joe Flacco, limiting him to just 18-of-32 for 117 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Considering that the Ravens boast one of the NFL's most dominant and complete offensive line units, Ware and Miller's Week 1 performance was even more impressive.
Today, Phillips took some time to talk about what sets Ware and Miller apart from the competition.
“They’re better than everybody else," Phillips said. "They’re quicker, they’re stronger, they’re faster, whatever. I’ve had a few in my career—great players are great players. You’d like to think coaching helps. I had [former LB] Rickey Jackson and he went on after I left and still was a Hall of Famer. I’m not sure it’s all coaching. It’s nice that we have two of them on our team. That’s the important thing.”
High praise for Ware and Miller. The Broncos have an embarrassment of riches at the outside linebacker position. When the starting OLB duo left the field on Sunday, the pass rush didn't miss a beat with Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray on the field.
Based on the early returns, we could be witnessing something special happening on the Denver defense. They were a top-5 defense in 2014—statistically speaking. In reality, this year's version could very well be the best defense in the league.
The Orange Crush have returned.
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