Miller, Ware enjoying bounce-back seasons
October 21, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When DeMarcus Ware teamed up with Von Miller in Denver, the two of them fantasized about what kind of tandem they'd be if they could both stay healthy.
Neither man wanted to mention how many sacks they could collect individually. But Ware suggested that between the two, "we want to have as many sacks as one team."
The pass-rush partners are exceeding those lofty expectations — their 15 combined sacks through six games are better than almost half the league.
Fourteen teams have fewer sacks and three more have the same amount that Miller (eight) and Ware (seven) have gathered.
That puts the duo on pace for 40, which would break by one sack the mark set by Chris Doleman and Keith Millard of the Minnesota Vikings in 1989.
"I did envision that," Ware said Monday of the duo's fast start.
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Playing terrific supporting roles to Peyton Manning, the new record-holder for most career touchdown passes, Ware dumped San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick three times and Miller got him twice in the Broncos' 42-17 statement win Sunday night.
"You just get in a groove and sacks come in bunches," said Miller, who has collected sacks in five straight games. "I'm just trying to do my job. If I can get my job done, it makes everybody else's job that much easier."
"Teams are actually leaving us 1-on-1, me and Von," Ware said. "They're doing more full slides. What I mean by full slide is the guard, center and tackle will slide, they will slide one guy away but we'll still figure out how to get a 'two-way go' on the side and then maybe Von will have a 'two-way go' on the other side and those guys in the middle, we're able to still get the pocket presence in the middle and able to rush on the outside.
"It's still two 1-on-1s," Ware said. "… As long as you can't chip both of us, as long as one of us is being effective, that's what it's about."
The only thing that broke the duo's concentration Sunday night was looking up from their snapshots on the sideline to watch Manning make history by breaking Brett Favre's career touchdown record.
Miller compared seeing all the camera phones being held up to being at a concert.
They went right back to work after Manning's milestone TD.
Miller's best move was an inside spin on right tackle Anthony Davis on his second sack.
The signature spin of the night, though, belonged to Ware, who juked Joe Staley with a sham spin move that sent the Pro Bowl left tackle sliding over to his right only to watch Ware halt his spin and get a free shot on the quarterback.
"I think he (faked out) himself," Ware said. "Sometimes you get a little feel. And I was thinking I hadn't done a spin move the whole game, so I'm going to try it and once I spun, he wasn't there."
Ware and Miller have already surpassed their disappointing sack totals from 2013.
The franchise sacks leader in Dallas, Ware was released by the Cowboys last winter in a salary cap move after getting to the quarterback a career-low six times and missing games for the first time in his nine-year career with a thigh injury.
He underwent surgery on his right elbow in February, then signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Broncos, who lost Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore in the infamous fax fiasco and watched Miller founder minus his mentor.
Miller and Dumervil teamed up for a Broncos tandem-record 29 1/2 sacks in 2012, including a franchise-high 18 1/2 by Miller, who slipped to just five in 2013, when his season began with a six-game drug suspension and ended with a torn right ACL in December.
Miller underwent surgery in January and watched the Super Bowl from the sideline.
The arrival of Ware, whom he patterned his game after while growing up in Dallas, inspired Miller, and his long, arduous hours of rehab led to some reflection and what the front office trusts is more maturity.
He's returned to being a wrecking ball on Denver's defense and this time, he's got company. If Miller and Ware can keep this up, it might very well be Manning celebrating their record next time.
Notes: The Broncos promoted RB Kapri Bibbs from their practice squad. He replaces LB Shaquil Barrett, who was his teammate at Colorado State. … Coach John Fox said LB Steven Johnson has a mildly sprained ankle and CB Omar Bolden has a concussion. He won't play against San Diego on Thursday night.
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