After having seen Elvis Dumervil leave as a free agent to the Baltimore Ravens after what was one of the strangest and worst cases of leaving things until the last minute, the Denver Broncos figured that they would be okay as far as pass rushing was concerned given that Von Miller was still on the team. Yet, Von Miller will be suspended for the first six games of the season because of a much-publicized failure of complying with the NFL‘s substance-abuse program.
Even with Von Miller, the Broncos were going to have to answer who would be the other player, aside from Miller, that was going to be able to help get a pass rush on the opposition quarterback. Now with Miller being gone for the fist six games because of the suspension, the thing that is wrong with the Broncos is clear; they might not have a consistent pass rush.
Looking at the Broncos roster, in particular their players on the defensive line and their linebackers, one could easily assume that getting a pass rush should not be an issue even without a players like Dumervil who departed and Miller who will be gone for a short time. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that those who will be expected to fill in and step up might not be up to the task or quite as capable as they once use to be. This is particularly clear with Shaun Philips who was brought in as a free agent.
Philips during his time with the Chargers had 69.5 sacks in 10 years with the San Diego Chargers and while he last year had 9.5 sacks, one cannot expect him to adequately fill in and lessen the non-presence of the departed Elvis Dumervil and the suspended Von Miller given he does not strike the same fear into opposing offenses. Aside from Philips, the Broncos have defensive lineman and linebackers like Robert Ayers, Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan who are solid-to-above-average players and contributors but just are not anywhere near the same stratosphere as Miller when it comes to the ability to rush the quarterback.
A team like the Denver Broncos, who is the favorite to win the Super Bowl, probably doesn’t have a lot, if anything, wrong with its roster but like all teams, they have a weakness. For the Broncos, the thing that is wrong with them is their ability to rush the passer and given that they have on their roster one of the best pass rushers in Von Miller, it was going to be something that it needed to answer. Now throw in the fact Miller is suspended for the first six games, and the lack of pass rushing threats is highlighted even more.