Broncos heap praise on Panthers leading up to Super Bowl 50
And no, this nasty Denver Broncos defense hasn't suddenly turned soft. They're simply playing nice with the Super Bowl still two weeks away.
The pleasantries seem tame after all the trash talking Denver did before the New England game. The Broncos called Brady a crybaby for complaining to the officials over calls. They also accused tight end Rob Gronkowski of constantly pushing off to get open.
On Sunday, they backed up their words by constantly harassing Brady in a 20-18 win over the Patriots to earn a spot in Super Bowl 50 against Carolina (17-1).
Now, the Broncos (14-4) are pulling out the respect card, especially when it comes to Newton.
''He's probably the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL right now,'' Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib said.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware heaped plenty of praise on Newton, too.
''You can't rush timid because if you do that, he's one of those pocket quarterbacks that can get the ball deep down the field,'' said Ware, whose team will wear their white road uniforms on Feb. 7 in their record-tying eighth Super Bowl appearance. ''You have to be able to get pressure on him, but you have to be decisive on how you're rushing. You can't be a wild rusher.''
The Broncos certainly went wild against Brady, hitting him 23 times, all the more amazing given how quickly Brady usually gets rid of the ball.
And no one was in his face more often than Von Miller, who had 2 1/2 sacks and an interception on a pass intended for Gronkowski.
''We go out there and the scoreboard talks for itself,'' Miller said.
So good was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme that after the game, coach Gary Kubiak felt he had to give out several game balls.
''We've got to come up with a great game plan against them like we did against New England,'' Talib said. ''We may switch it up here and there a little bit, but for the most part, we're going to get pressure on the quarterback and cover.''
The Broncos are facing a different kind of QB in Newton. He's not like Brady, who will find seam after seam for big play after big play. Instead, Newton will take off if the pressure is too intense. In a 49-15 win over Arizona during the NFC title game, Newton rushed for two TDs and threw for two more.
''Super unique,'' Talib said. ''I've never seen anybody who is that size. He can sit in the pocket and throw it, and then he can run, run wide out. He probably could play any position in the NFL that you wanted to. He's definitely a unique player.''
Kubiak saw Newton last season when he was offensive coordinator in Baltimore. Newton completed 14 of 25 passes for 197 yards that day but was under duress for much of the game. Newton was sacked twice as the Ravens won 38-10.
The Broncos first-year head coach wouldn't mind a repeat performance.
''Having to tackle him out in the open field, having to defend the quarterback runs and those types of things will be something different for us,'' Kubiak said. ''It's nice to have a couple of weeks.''
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