ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Count on three things from the
They’re going to load the box to stop reigning NFL MVP
“We’re a chippy team. We thrive off that,” cornerback
Ward laughed after saying that, but look at how things played out in the Super Bowl — a lopsided affair that left Carolina, the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2015, flailing and frustrated almost from the start.
Before the first quarter was over, cornerback
“They got new rules to the game, so we’ve got to keep our flash to a minimum,” Talib said, grinning. “But we’re going to play ball, man. That’s football. Football get chippy.”
In March, owners passed a rule on a one-year trial basis that automatically ejects any player who commits two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties such as taunting (but not facemasks or other types of personal fouls). So officials figure to be watching, and listening, closely to make sure things don’t get out of hand on national TV.
Asked if he has talked to players about keeping their emotions in check in the rematch, Broncos coach
“Our guys are guys that usually, if they’re not talking a little bit, something’s wrong. So I want them to be themselves, to go play and have fun.”
The Broncos were still talking after winning the Super Bowl — most notably Harris, whose detailing to reporters of veteran coordinator
The plan made perfect sense, given the Broncos’ advantages with their pass rushers against the Panthers tackles and their cornerbacks against the Panthers receivers. They just had to get Carolina in third-and-long situations and let pass rusher
“If a team’s able to run the ball on you, you’re probably going to lose the game, because that’s where it starts,” Ward said. “It just so happens to be with them, it just sort of starts and ends with that, because that’s what they’re best at.”
This time, the Broncos will have a partisan crowd making things even more difficult on Newton, who’s had seven months to stew over having his worst game of last season on the biggest stage and all the scrutiny that came with it.
The Carolina passing game has a chance to be more dynamic in 2016 with big receiver
“We’re definitely expecting something different,” Ward said. “But you can’t go too far away from what you are.”
The Broncos believe their offense will be improved, too. But they’ll start a quarterback in second-year pro
By now, everyone should know what to expect from Denver’s defense, which has a couple of new starters but the same coach, core players and mentality.
“We’re always going to play man-to-man and load the box. That’s just our staple. That’s just who we are,” Harris said. “We expect to come out and leave off of where we left off last year.”
In the Panthers’ backfield, and in their ears.