Good morning, Broncos Country!
The Broncos’ defensive line got a little boost in expertise on Wednesday when former Spin Move Master and future Hall-of-Famer DeMarcus Ware stopped by OTAs for a little instruction.
To give it, that is.
And though most photo opps seemed to highlight Ware’s work with first-round draft pick Bradley Chubb, Shelby Harris was not about to miss his opportunity either.
“When DeMarcus says something, you listen. Because you know he’s one of the all-time greats when it comes to getting to the quarterback,” said Harris, the Raiders’ 2014 7th-round pick who joined the Broncos last season.
“[Ware] has a lot of good insight and you want to pick his brain. You want to sit there and see what he thinks, and the way he thinks when it comes to rushing the passer,” Harris added. “And so yeah—when he comes in and he says something, you want to listen.”
Harris, who wasn’t on the team during the historic Super Bowl 50 run featuring Miller and Ware, knows having the nine-time Pro Bowler in the house is not something to shrug off.
The fourth-year defensive end, who logged 5.5 sacks last year - a marked improvement over his previous one-sack-in-three-seasons production - is looking to have another breakout year, so any time with Ware is time well-spent.
“You should’ve seen today,” Harris said, describing Ware as he held court on the football field. ”He was talking to us and all the D-Linemen were circled around him and listened to what had to say. Because how often do you get a first-ballot Hall of famer to come in and talk to you and try to teach you about pass rushing? So, you’ve got to take it and you’ve got to enjoy it.”
Ware, who stands eighth on the all-time sacks leaderboard with 138.5 worked with both outside linebackers and interior defensive linemen to offer tips.
“He came in and worked with some of the inside guys a little bit. And the outside guys a little bit. He showed us a couple of little moves that I’m going to try out tomorrow when the pads come on,” Harris said. “Hopefully we get to see more of him. Hopefully he gets to come in and help us with our pass rushing a little bit more.”
In the meantime, Shelby and his defensive line have “the bear wrestler” coaching them up.
Bill Kollar, a former NFL lineman who once wrestled a bear for a team publicity stunt, is a unique personality, and Harris jokes it takes “practice” to adjust to that unique style.
“How do I describe Bill? Bill is Bill,” Harris says, adding that Kollar is “out there” and there is an “adjustment period” when playing for Kollar.
But Harris is serious when he says Kollar has made him and the other defensive linemen better players.
“He gets the best out of his players and he demands the best out of his players. So you have to respect that,” Harris added. “His way of doing it sometimes is a little unorthodox. But he has good intentions and he gets results. I had five-and-a-half sacks last year. I loved it - I thought he had some great insight on some things.”
Fellow lineman Zach Kerr would agree. He believes this current line is the best he’s played with.
“I honestly believe that this is probably the most talented unit that I’ve been a part of,” Kerr said. “Domata [Peko Sr.] going into Year 13, [Derek] Wolfe is Wolfe, Shelby [Harris] played at a high level last year, [DE] Adam Gotsis played at a high level last year. You have [DE] Clinton McDonald in and he’s a proven vet. A couple other young guys — DeMarcus [Walker] is playing really well. It’s definitely a lot of competition but that’s a good thing.”
And the fifth-year player heading into his second in Denver also appreciated the visit from Ware - even if Kerr grew up watching Ware dismantle his hometown Redskins time and time again.
“I wasn’t mad at him. I can appreciate his craft,” Kerr said, adding that it was “cool” to have Ware on hand during practice.
“I’ve been a fan of DeMarcus Ware when he was a Cowboy even though I grew up a Redskins fan. I always knew about DeMarcus Ware,” Kerr said. “It was cool having him at practice. He taught us a lot of things in the short time that he was here. I enjoyed it.”
Although players were without pads and couldn’t really go full-force, Kerr is excited to put Ware’s advice to use.
“It was cool for him to be here to kind of show us some of the finesse moves and power moves from the inside,” he added.
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