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DeMarcus Ware’s impact felt during his first practice as a guest coach

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 30, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It didn’t take long for the Denver Broncos’ new Hall-of-Fame addition to make an impact.

It took less than one practice — and minutes on the job — to be exact.

“It was cool having him at practice. He taught us a lot of things in the short time he was here,” defensive lineman Zach Kerr said on Wednesday, talking about the team’s guest coach, DeMarcus Ware. “I enjoyed it. He taught us how to really work some pass rush moves without having football pads on.”

On Wednesday morning, the Broncos made the move many have anticipated for months, bringing Ware onto their staff as a part-time pass rush consultant for the remainder of the team’s offseason workout program.

“He showed us some stuff. He came in and worked with some inside guys a little bit and outside guys a little bit. He showed us a couple of moves that I’m going to try out tomorrow,” defensive lineman Shelby Harris said with a smile engulfing his face.

“Hopefully we get to see more of him. Hopefully, he gets to come in and help us with our pass rushing a little more. I loved it. I thought he had some great insight into things.”

After the team fired outside linebacker coach Fred “Pug” Pagac at the end of the 2017 season, it was expected the team was going to hire a pass-rush specialist to work with both the outside linebackers and the defensive lineman on.

Instead, the team decided to divvy up the outside linebacker duties between inside linebacker coach Reggie Herring and defensive line coach Bill Kollar.

With a plethora of pass rushers on the team — especially after Denver used their No. 5 overall pick on pass rusher, Bradley Chubb — the Broncos turned to the pass-rush specialist himself, and former 12-year vet, Ware.

“It was cool for him to show us some of the finesse moves and power moves on the inside for when we do put the pads on,” Kerr said, speaking highly of his first day with Ware even though he grew up in a household cheering for the Washington Redskins, an arch rival of Ware’s first team the Dallas Cowboys.

What makes Ware a perfect fit for his role — along with his nine Pro Bowl’s, 138.5 career sacks and history with the Broncos — is his versatility and diversity getting after the quarterback.

During his decorated career, the 6-foot-4, 258-pound rusher played standing up and with his hand in the dirt — exactly what Chubb will be doing as well, making no better mentor and coach for Denver’s first-round pick to learn from.

“You should have seen today, he was talking to us and all of the d-lineman were circled around him just listening what he has 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?” Harris said with pure excitement in his voice. “You got to take it, and you got to enjoy it.”

Chubb is just one of many Broncos who Ware will share his knowledge with in the coming weeks.

“When he says something, you listen. When DeMarcus says something, you listen,” Harris emphasized. “Because you know he’s one of the all-time greats when it comes to getting to the quarterback. He has a lot of good insight, and you want to pick his brain. You want to sit there and see what he sees and the way he thinks when it comes to rushing the passer. When he comes in and says something, you want to listen.”

John Elway’s commitment to getting after the quarterback has been unmatched. His first year on the job, 2011, he used the second-overall pick on Von Miller. Four years later he used another first-round pick on Shane Ray.

A year after that, Elway not only made Miller the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the league — something Von still owns — he used a second-round draft pick on defensive end Adam Gotsis. In the two ensuing years, the Hall of Fame quarterback used another second-round pick on pass rusher DeMarcus Walker, and of course, the No. 5 overall pick this year on Bradley Chubb.

On Wednesday, Elway added yet another piece to the puzzle by bringing on one of the best to ever do it. Even if it’s just a part-time gig, early indications point to the seven-time All-Pro already having an impact on what Elway hopes to be another dominant defense that can carry him to a Super Bowl.

“That’s the reason we’re out here. We all want to be great. We all want to win. We all want to win championships. We all want to make the Hall of Fame,” Harris concluded. “Why not take tips from someone who’s going there.”

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