Ware, Miller anoint themselves as Broncos’ dynamic duo
San Jose, Calif. — Before Cam Newton started dabbing in the end zone this year, he celebrated as if he was Clark Kent ripping off the suit.
If Newton is Superman, who on the Broncos is Batman? Someone asked Denver linebacker DeMarcus Ware the question Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night, referencing the movie coming out in March.
“I would probably say I’m Batman because Von (Miller) is Robin because he’s always saving me,” Ware said. “It’s a dirty duo.”
Miller, the fellow Broncos linebacker, agreed with Ware.
“I’m Robin, the only guy that has ever saved (Batman),” he said. “You always see Batman folded up, and you’ve got Robin to come save the day. I’m cool with Robin.”
No matter which superhero the Broncos pass rushers want to resemble, the Panthers offensive line will have to be super to prevent Ware and Miller from sacking Newton on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
In Ware and Miller, Denver has two of the premier edge rushers in the NFL. Miller, 26, had 11 sacks and four forced fumbles this year while Ware, 33, had 7.5 sacks. In the postseason, the duo already has four sacks.
Ware, who ranks 11th in all-time sacks, joined the Broncos in 2014 after nine seasons with the Cowboys, including four first-team All-Pro honors. When he became a free agent, Ware took advantage of a chance to team up with Miller, whom he’d gotten to know through their Texas ties because Miller went to Texas A&M.
“That brotherhood was sort of established before I got to the Denver Broncos, and now it’s even more,” Ware said. “Getting to see him and talk about life and have that pass rusher on the other side that can wreak havoc with me, I think he’s one of those linebackers that’s going to be great for years to come.”
Ware said he and Miller feed off each other in practice, too. Each day they see who can get more pressure or who can break up more passes.
Panthers left tackle Michael Oher said the Broncos linebackers are both “tremendous pass rushers.”
“They really get after it,” he said. “We’ve been watching film on them, and they do a great job at a lot of different things on their entire defense. We’re just going to have to continue to prepare well and continue to do what we’ve been doing and get after it.”
Both Miller and Ware will be playing in their first Super Bowl. When the Broncos lost to the Seahawks two years ago, Miller was out with an injury.
Now in his fifth season, Miller has already become one of the most consistently impressive defensive players in the NFL.
“He can do whatever he wants,” Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “He can rush from anywhere. He can rush on the edge. He has a great change-up move. He can rush inside. He is relentless. Even when you think you have him blocked, he can turn the corner at the end and knock the ball out. He is special.”
Miller is so special that comparisons to Giants Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor have already started. Miller has averaged 12 sacks so far in his career; Thomas averaged 11 in the 12 seasons when sacks were an official statistic.
“It’s humbling,” Miller said. “Comparisons to guys like that, it makes you feel uncomfortable.”
And on Sunday, Miller and Ware plan to make Newton feel uncomfortable to give the Broncos the best chance to slow down a Panthers team that led the NFL in scoring in 2015.
“We do a lot of different things, but I think our mentality is the same of really getting to the quarterback,” Ware said. “I think a pass rusher is a pass rusher and everybody has what they do best. But, the mentality stays the same.”
Denver vs. Carolina
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Line: Carolina by 5