Arnie Stapleton
April 22, 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) After helping put the clamps on Cam Newton in the Super Bowl, Chris Harris Jr. helped send Carolina's quarterback over the edge by explaining how the Denver Broncos had befuddled the league's MVP exactly as they had planned.

Unbeknownst to Harris, Newton could hear him because only a thick curtain separated the teams' postgame interviews, which were amplified by loud speakers.

Newton didn't sit there to listen to the newly crowned champions crowing about how they had throttled the favored Panthers, who finished 17-2. He stormed off.

Harris said he's been asked repeatedly this offseason if he'd have said anything different had he known Newton was within earshot.

''Like I tell everybody, I didn't know he was on the other side. We were just doing normal interviews. You're very (excited) after winning a Super Bowl,'' Harris said. ''No, I wouldn't change. They asked me simple questions, what we did and what was the game plan.''

He didn't mean to pile on the Panthers, he said. He was just explaining how their plan to take away the run, pressure Newton and force him to put the ball in the air quicker than he'd like had worked to perfection in their 24-10 victory in Super Bowl 50.

Newton completed just 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards with no TDs and one interception in that game. He was stripped on two sacks by game MVP Von Miller, which led to Denver's only touchdowns.

The same teams open the 2016 season on Sept. 8 in Denver, the first time since 1970 that the teams which met in the Super Bowl kick off the season against each other the following year.

''So, he's definitely going to be ready to come after us, definitely try to throw the rock on us a lot this year,'' Harris said.

While Denver lost Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler and revamped its offensive line since the Super Bowl, the league's best defense returns nine starters - 10, if you count nickel cornerback Bradley Roby, Harris noted.

The Broncos did lose free agents Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan.

''We're really bringing back 10 guys that played a lot,'' Harris said, adding that safety Shiloh Keo ''even played a lot for us. We have a lot of guys back. We know it's always going to be hard to replace Malik and a guy like Danny Trevathan, who has always had his hair on fire everywhere. Todd Davis, I think he'll do a great job of being able to come in and fill that role. No telling with what we'll do with the draft with the D-linemen. I still think we have the best D-line in the league.''

In the hours before the Panthers rescinded cornerback Josh Norman's franchise tag earlier this week, Harris was asked to rank his top five cornerbacks in the NFL. He listed Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, himself and teammate Aqib Talib.

No Norman, and that wasn't an oversight, either.

''You've got to do it more than one year,'' Harris said. ''We've been guys that have done it five years. I don't know how many years for Revis, nine or 10 this year. Talib has done it eight years. It's about being good for a long time, not just one year.''

NEW LOCKERS: The Broncos have renovated their locker room at team headquarters, modernizing the cubicles with leather seats and USB ports and removing permanent lockers in the middle that tended to separate the team into offense and defense.

''Now with the open concept here, all the guys can see across the locker room and feel like it's one full team,'' said Chip Conway, the Broncos' vice president of operations.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

You May Like