KUSA - On retired number Sunday, the current Denver Bronco player with the best chance to one day join that elite group is Von Miller and his number 58.
The retired numbers that will be displayed with in-stadium banners Sunday when the Broncos play the Indianapolis Colts are John Elway’s No. 7, Floyd Little’s No. 44 and Frank Tripucka’s No. 18.
Peyton Manning also wore No. 18 the previous four years with the Broncos (and for 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts) and will also have his name on the bottom of the 18 banner.
Since we’re on the subject of football immortality, the current Denver team probably has only two Hall of Fame-caliber players.
A lot of very good, Pro Bowl players. But the Hall of Famers are DeMarcus Ware – who has likely already done enough to have his bust bronzed in Canton if he retired today -- and Miller, who is on his way.
“It’s like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson,’’ Miller said in comparing Golden State’s sharp-shooting guard duo from the roundball sport to the Broncos’ pass-rushing duo. “When Klay Thompson has two on him, then Curry takes the shot. They got two on Curry then Thompson takes the shot.’’
You can’t double-team them both, is the point. When Miller teamed with Elvis Dumervil in his first two NFL seasons with the Broncos, he called their pass-rushing duo Batman and Robin.
Now that Ware is his partner, Miller has brought out the Splash Brothers reference that belongs to Curry and Thompson.
“The football Splash Brothers,” Miller said.
Fun stuff. Miller and Ware have a chance to make history irrelevant when Broncos play the Colts this Sunday. History says the Colts have won eight of the past nine games against the Broncos, including three of the past four with Andrew Luck as the Indy quarterback.
Luck has beat a Broncos team that had Ware and Miller. Luck has beat a Broncos team in Denver. He has beat a Broncos team that had Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.
But this is the first Luck will take on a Broncos team that features Ware, Miller, Phillips and the mile-high altitude of Denver.
Ware and Miller combined for 2 ½ sacks last week against Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft.
Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is not as easy to sack. In his last two full seasons of 2013-14, Luck was sacked a combined 59 times while Newton took 81 in that span.
Ware and Miller, meanwhile, have combined for 197 sacks. Ware’s 136 sacks (all but 19 with the Dallas Cowboys) are tied for ninth on the all-time list, and he’s just 5.0 away from passing No. 5 Michael Strahan. Miller’s 61 sacks as he’s just starting his sixth season are just three away from passing Dumervil for seventh place on the Broncos’ all-time list.
Now, it’s time for Miller to put Luck in his book.
“I haven’t had a sack on him yet,’’ Miller said. “I got close, but he just has that knack for keeping his eyes downfield, feeling the defense and still making great passes.’’
Ware has 2.5 sacks on Luck. He dropped him once in a 27-24 loss at Indy last November and registered 1.5 sacks in the Broncos’ 31-24 win in Denver to open the 2014 season.
“He’s one of those guys where you have to take him down and you have to grab his right hand to make sure that he doesn’t throw the ball,’’ Ware said. “There are certain techniques that you have to take to take him down, but you have to treat him like every quarterback and you have to get pressure on him and make him make indecisive decisions, and that’s what we’re going to try to do this week.”
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