By Chad Jensen
(247 SPORTS) – Few who cover the Denver Broncos really know exactly how involved DeMarcus Ware is with the team on a day-to-day basis. Hired on as a coaching ‘consultant’ earlier this summer, the future Hall-of-Famer and Super Bowl 50 champion has been working with the Broncos’ front-seven, especially the outside linebackers.
To my knowledge, Ware hasn’t traveled with the team for road games, and I’m not sure how available he’s been on-site for Denver’s home stands. He was involved in practice during training camp and preseason, and as a ‘pass-rush consultant’, his influence has continued throughout the 2018 regular season.
“DeMarcus has got a rigid schedule,” head coach Vance Joseph said back in August. “He’s a consultant, he’s not full-time. We’ve got him scheduled to be here two days this week, take a couple days back and then come back for the first game. It’s a consultant position so it’s not a full-time position.”
I was dubious about how effective a part-time coach could be but 10 games into the season, its safe to say the proof is in the pudding. With the Broncos drafting Bradley Chubb No. 5 overall, the team entered this campaign with three former first-rounders in their outside linebacker corps.
Aside from Von Miller, the team didn’t feel like they were getting the production out of this group that they should have in 2017. Last year, Denver finished with just 33 team sacks, down from 44 the year prior — Ware’s last season as a Broncos’ player.
The Broncos already have 31 sacks this year, and while the influx of talent (Chubb) certainly has played a role in that production, having DeMarcus Ware on-site to work with and mentor Chubb, and Shane Ray, and Shaquil Barrett, has paid early dividends. With 138.5 career sacks (8th-most all-time, Ware knows a thing or two about getting after the passer.
Heading into Week 12’s tilt vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miller and Chubb have the opportunity to do something no edge-rushing duo in NFL history have ever accomplished. If each player can get at least a half-sack, Miller and Chubb will become the first teammates ever to post a six-game sack streak simultaneously.
The Broncos have had some phenomenal pass-rushing duos in recent history — including Miller and Elvis Dumervil, Miller and Shaun Phillips, Miller and Ware — but none of them have approached this simultaneous sack streak.
Miller (10) and Chubb (9) have combined for 19 sacks thus far. Von has a chance to break his career and franchise-record of 18.5 sacks, set in 2012. Chubb is inching closer to Jevon Kearse’s all-time rookie sack record of 14.5, a mark set almost 20 years ago (1999).
The Broncos led the NFL in sacks in 2015, the year they won the Super Bowl, with 52. The next year they dropped down to 44, after losing front-seven talent like Malik Jackson, Antonio Smith, and Danny Trevathan.
But last year’s 33 sacks was a wake-up call for the franchise. When a backup defensive lineman finishes second on the team in sacks, you know you’ve got a problem. With Miller still in his prime, and Chubb and Ray filling out the depth chart, the Broncos chose to get creative and innovate, in order to capitalize on this prolific edge talent.
The answer was hiring DeMarcus Ware as a part-time consultant. I know its hard for fans to give Vance Joseph any credit, but he more than deserves it in this case