Shane Ray, who hails from Missouri and has a Kansas City Chiefs tattoo, will play his first game this season against his former favorite team.
Coming off injured reserve after wrist surgery during preseason, Ray is eligible to begin practice next Monday and play his first game two weeks later.
And he Can. Not. Wait.
“I look forward every year to beating the Chiefs because that’s where I’m from,” Ray told the Afternoon Drive on Monday afternoon. “To beat them every year and hear my family talk and whine and take [the Chiefs] off their high horse, that’s what I live for. I want to beat ‘em.”
He’s so excited about returning, Ray has been watching every Chiefs game and breaking down first and second downs on film in anticipation of his pass-rushing role.
“When I come back, I’ll be overly prepared,” he said, noting that he has a lot less pain now that the pins are out of his wrist and that has made him a lot more confident.
So confident, in fact, that Ray anticipates his return can help the Broncos defense improve its pass-rushing rank to top five in the league.
“We’re sitting at 14th in the league in pass rush and sacks, and I feel like with my return, we can definitely be back in top 5. That’s where we’re supposed to be,” Ray said. “We’re supposed to be one of best pass rush teams in the AFC West. That’s why we’re dominant. Especially what we do in the run game, stopping guys up front, creating long third downs. I feel like a lot of opportunities coming from me and a lot of electricity I can bring when I’m healthy.”
That is good news for the Broncos who will take their shot at beating the team not only with the best AFC West record right now, but the only one in the NFL to be undefeated so far. With any luck, however, a 5-1 Broncos team will be taking on the Chiefs to overtake the AFC West by Week 8.
“Alex is doing a big-time job of escaping the pocket finding guys down field and deep over-routes,” Ray said. “It’s not traditional Alex Smith short passes.”
Ray knows teams like to play the Broncos differently, but he also knows the Chiefs’ QB is well aware of their defensive strength on the outside.
“He knows and we know that we have the guys to run him down,” Ray said. “That’s never been a good formula for Chiefs to beat us with Alex being mobile. We’re going to try to contain him, keep him in the pocket and play our game.”
It’s still three weeks until the Broncos face off against the Chiefs - and it will likely be a still-undefeated Chiefs team - but if there is a defense to stymie Smith and the Chiefs, it is this one.
“I don’t think it could play out any better,” Ray said. “With how well the Chiefs are playing, I feel like we’re the team to beat them. I feel like we’re the team that balances up against them very well. For me to come back in that game to add some pass rush, I’m so excited. I want to be a part of the reason why we take them down and really take over our division.”
Guess what, Shane Ray?
I Can. Not. Wait. either.
Will the Broncos beat the Chiefs Oct. 30 on MNF?
This poll is closed
I’m a Chiefs fan, so no.
I’m a Broncos fan, but I’m too pessimistic to say yes.