Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Miller & Co. Bring the Heat for Denver Defense

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Miller & Co. Bring the Heat for Denver Defense

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO * Cam Newton was asked Wednesday if a Super Bowl victory would help him build his "brand," perhaps with a clothing line or fashion company such as Versace.

Only during Super Bowl week do such questions become almost routine.

Versace?

OK, Newton did arrive at the Super Bowl wearing an $849 pair of Versace gold zebra pants. But even the charismatic Carolina quarterback was momentarily taken aback by the query.

"My main focus right now is the Denver Broncos, specifically Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware," Newton replied. "I think Versace and everybody else can wait for the time being."

For many football fans, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is a sentimental favorite as he attempts to win his second Super Bowl at age 39. But the work of Denver's top-ranked defense, headed by Miller and Ware the Broncos' bookend outside linebackers has had more to do with the team's success this year.

The No. 2 overall pick behind Newton in the stellar 2011 draft, Miller led the Broncos with 11 sacks this year. Already a four-time Pro Bowler, he's the third-fastest player to reach 50 career sacks in NFL history, doing so in just 58 games.

And he talks almost as good a game as he plays.

On Wednesday, Miller said he has known he could rush the passer "from day one." Meaning day one of Pee Wee league football practice at age 7.

"I just remember how easy it was for me to go to practice and practice with my guys," Miller said. "And I just remember how much fun it was, and how it felt to go out there and play. And it still feels exactly the same today."

Tom Brady can attest to that. The New England quarterback was hammered like never before by Miller, Ware and the rest of the Denver pass rush to the tune of a staggering 41 sacks, hits, or hurries.

Ware, the former Dallas star who has revived his career in the Mile High City, had just one-half sack but had seven quarterback hits. As for Miller, he was in a pass-rush frenzy, with 2 sacks. Even when he dropped in coverage he made things happen, with an athletic interception in Denver's 20-18 victory in the AFC title game.

"I get that same feeling in every game," Miller said. "It could be the South Texas Wild Bears, and I'm gonna come with it. Football is truly a sport I love to play."

The Wild Bears?

"They were undefeated in the open pastures down there," Miller said, chuckling at his own joke.

As talented as Miller is, he has plenty of help on the Denver defense. Ware, 33, had a modest seven regular-season sacks this season but is 11th all-time with 134. Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson are disruptive interior players up front.

At linebacker, Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall topped 100 tackles apiece in the regular season. And in the secondary, ballhawk Aqib Talib has more interceptions (30) than any cornerback and more defensive touchdowns (eight) than anyone since he came into the league in 2008. …

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