This is sort of a cop out, as it says five players and this is a whole position group, but they all need to have big games. In Wade Phillips 3-4 scheme, the defense often lives or dies by the play of their linebackers, especially those on the outside.
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For the Broncos outside linebacker corps, they have Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett. All four were huge for the Broncos success a year ago, and in their Superbowl win. Miller especially so, which earned him the Superbowl MVP award.
In that Superbowl, Miller completely controlled right tackle Mike Remmers. Remmers is still the starting right tackle for the Panthers and is probably having nightmares leading up to this game. The head game is an underrated aspect to football and Miller could easily get into Remmers.
Even if Miller comes out of the game, Barrett isn’t someone to underestimate. Barrett could come in without the defense missing a beat and make plays taking on Remmers. That is just the right side, and the left side will be problematic too.
DeMarcus Ware is a star, but will be on a play count. That doesn’t mean he is any less dangerous, just will see fewer plays to make a play. His counterpart, Shane Ray, is a former first round pick and has grown astronomically since his rookie year last year. They will be facing left tackle Michael Oher, who is a solid player.
These two offensive tackles have their work cut out for them. They have to take on a whole group of rush linebackers who can wreak havoc. Not only that, but they have to do that without being able to sub in and out like these linebackers can and will.
Next: Sylvester Williams