Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to Cause Havoc on the Edges
With Talib sidelined, Broncos edge rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will need to pick up the expected slack left by their banged-up secondary, a feat that isn’t out of reach for Denver’s dynamic duo.
In eight games, Miller has accumulated 33 combined tackles (24 solo) and 8.5 sacks. He has graded out as the No. 2 edge-rusher in the NFL, per PFF.com.
His counterpart, Ware, who missed five games this season with a fractured forearm, returned to action against the San Diego Chargers last week, picking up zero tackles and just one pass deflection in the affair. Prior to the injury, Ware registered two sacks in the team’s first two games of the season.
Both Miller and Ware possess an elite ability to attack the quarterback, as the two have bullied opposing offensive tackles since the joined forces in 2014.
The Raiders’ offensive tackles are next on their list.
Coming off a career performance against his former team, Raiders veteran left tackle Donald Penn will have his hands full with Miller and Ware taking turns attacking Carr’s blind side. However, Penn has good-sized hands, fortunately.
According to PFF.com, Penn is the eighth-ranked offensive tackle in the NFL, as he has been Carr’s personal protector all season, rarely allowing his opponent to even touch his praised quarterback’s jersey.
Despite his success, Penn knows what he’s going up against.
"“I hate playing against [Ware]; he knows that,” Penn said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “But it’s a battle. I’m going to be up to it.”"
Penn also touched on Miller’s impact, as he and Miller have exchanged blows quite often in their career.
"“Von’s great,” Penn said. “I train with him in the offseason. He knows he’s good. I know he’s good. And we’re going to go out here and battle. Ain’t nobody scared out here or nothing.”"
Penn’s confidence is admirable, but I doubt it’s mirrored on the right side of Oakland’s offensive line.
With the Raiders continuing to work with a revolving door at the right tackle position, their inconsistency at the position could negatively affect their protection against the Broncos’ edge rushers.
With veteran Menelik Watson and rookie Vadal Alexander both listed as questionable with lower leg injuries, veteran tackle Austin Howard could pick up his fifth start of the season, warranting obvious concern.
The former New York Jets offensive lineman has flashed with the Silver and Black since joining the team in 2014, but Howard’s flashes are always short-lived.
Howard allowed Buccaneers rookie edge-rusher Noah Spence to earn a strip-sack on Carr against Tamp Bay last week, a mistake Oakland simply can’t afford against a powerhouse like Denver.