Denver Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware was awarded the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month award today, which sounds like business-as-usual for a seven-time All Pro, right?
Wrong. It was Ware's first such honor. Wednesday after practice, coaches and players mentioned their surprise.
Gary Kubiak, on if he is surprised this is OLB DeMarcus Ware's first AFC Player of the Month honor
"I didn't know that until [Vice President of Public Relations] Patrick [Smyth] told me that. This morning with the team, I read off a list of things he's accomplished in his career, but that one wasn't on the list until today. What a great player, but what an even better person. I know it's my first time to be around him, but [he is a] true pro. I'm very proud of him. He is playing extremely well."
Kubiak on Ware earning the honor at age 33
"You know what it does, and I was kind of talking to the players after practice, you watch guys go through the grind and stuff and you watch how he takes care of himself and how much he loves to play. I was preaching to young players today that you need to look at guys like that. Those guys that last that long, they usually last for a reason. They're usually made of a ton of class, they love the game and they work hard at the game. That's what he stands for."
Wade Phillips on if he was surprised to hear this was Ware's first Defensive Player of the Month title
"It did surprise me, yes. The guy has been—you just look at the numbers now—I mean, [OLB] Von Miller is a great player. He's got 50 sacks. And Demarcus has got [130.5]. It's over a career. He just passed Ricky Jackson who I was lucky to coach also and he's right on the heels of Lawrence Taylor. That shows you what company he's in. He's in a class by himself. [I have] been lucky to coach him and we're looking forward to this ball game. Obviously, Minnesota gives you some problems, with the number one problem, obviously, the running back. He's a great, great player. We played against him quite a few times. He's special. We've got to have everybody knowing where he is, and when he gets the ball, we've got to have great pursuit. All the things that you really work on and try to be a really good defense, he makes you have to do those things or you fail."
Von Miller on if he was surprised to learn OLB DeMarcus Ware had never been named Defensive Player of the Month before today
"That's crazy. A seven-time All-Pro? That's crazy. Sometimes people just don't get it right."
We echo Von's sentiments when it comes to not getting it right. Take the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month - while the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski certainly deserves credit for breaking the all-time PAT streak record, was it really a better performance than Brandon McManus' three field goals of over 50 yards? Heading into Week 3, McManus boasted the three longest field goals in the league and has been a monster on touchbacks and kickoffs.
The NFL didn't get it right with McManus this month, and there's no doubt they got it wrong a few times with DeMarcus Ware in his career. Until now.