Quarterback has been a big conversation topic around the Broncos this offseason and getting better offensive play is a big need in Denver, but any gains on that side would be mitigated by a step backward on defense.
One departure that could lead to such a step is the loss of linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who opted to retire after the end of last season. It’s one that the Broncos planned for by drafting Shane Ray, however, and Ware’s partner over the last few years Von Miller believes Ray will be up to the task of filling Ware’s shoes.
“Shane being a starter from Day 1 — I think that will definitely help his game,” Miller said, via ESPN.com. “He’ll have to come out in key situations and be the guy this year. … And Shane’s been ready. He’s been ready for a long time.”
Ray has shown signs of being ready for more in his first two seasons. He had four sacks as a rookie and eight last season while playing 58 percent of the snaps as a sub or replacement for Ware while the veteran was dealing with a back injury. If his productivity remains the same while his playing time increases, the Broncos won’t see much, if any, drop off the edge.