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Pouring on the Pressure

Posted Aug 28, 2011

Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller combine for 3.5 out of the defense's five sacks Saturday.

DENVER -- Before training camp started, linebacker Von Miller dubbed himself and defensive end Elvis Dumervil 'Batman and Robin.'
 
With all due respect to Robin, on Saturday, it looked like Batman and Batman.
 
Miller and Dumervil combined for 3.5 sacks and six quarterback hits in two-and-a-half quarters of play Saturday to anchor a first-unit defense that gave up just a field goal for the third straight game.
 
Even the victim of all those punishing hits couldn't resist giving them praise.
 
"Those guys did a great job today," Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tavaris Jackson said. "They came off the ball and they were ready. They are some talented guys on the edge and that's what they do. They're very good at rushing the passer.
 
"Hats off to those guys for the job they did."
 
Dumervil and Miller wasted no time setting up camp in Seattle's backfield. On Jackson's first pass play, the duo came flying off their respective edges and met at the quarterback. They hit him as he released the ball, which didn't go further than 4 yards. The very next play was more of the same, with Miller and defensive end Robert Ayers getting to Jackson causing another incompletion.
 
That theme would continue throughout the night. In the second quarter, Dumervil or Miller sacked Jackson on three straight Seahawks drives, all of which were three-and-outs.
 
"Elvis is just an all-around great player," Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton said. "He gets so much credit for sacking the quarterback, but he's covering the run so well right now. And Von is a special player. To start his career like this, he's got some special moves. I don't think there's going to be too many players sitting there double teaming Elvis when you've got Von on the other side."
 
Nobody knows the impact Dumervil and Miller can have on the field better than Orton. The quarterback faces the duo every day in practice and knows just how miserable they can make life for opposing offenses.
 
"They've made it tough for us all through camp," Orton said. "Anytime you get pressure with a four-man rush and commit seven guys to coverage -- no quarterback likes that and doesn't like to get hit with a four-man rush. And they do a lot of that."

Miller credits his early success to Dumervil. The sixth-year player and 2009 NFL sack leader has taken the rookie under his wing to show him the tricks of the pass rushing trade.

"It's great to have a mentor technician that can show me how to be a better pass rusher," Miller said. "Anytime you have someone that is better than you, you can learn from them. It makes the learning curve a whole lot easier."
 
With Miller and Dumervil -- as well as Jeremy Jarmon and Wesley Woodyard, who also notched sacks  -- getting to the quarterback shortly after the snap, the secondary has to stay in coverage for just a short period of time.
 
"They make the back end guys' job a lot easier," linebacker Joe Mays said. "It seemed like we were in coverage 2-3 seconds max, and they got to the quarterback. I'm loving life right now."
 
But Dumervil is quick to point out the pass rush is about more than one or two guys.
 
"I think it all starts up front," Dumervil said. "We've got guys pushing the pocket inside, and we've got good coverage on the back end. If we all can get clicking on the same cylinder and complement each other, I think we can do some special things."
 
While Miller and Dumervil are getting most of the credit, Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen has put an emphasis on the whole defensive line getting into the backfield and it showed. Ayers and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson constantly stuffed the Seahawks running backs, holding them to only 13 yards rushing in the first half, and also put pressure on Jackson numerous times.
 
"Hopefully we can get it to where it's three guys that teams have to key on," Ayers said. "I don't want to be just the other guy -- I want to get in that group, too, and so does Vickerson and (defensive tackle) Brodrick Bunkley and (defensive end) Jason Hunter and everybody. Everybody wants to go out there and be a dominant player and that's the mindset that we have."
 
If that's the case, Miller might need to come up with a new nickname for the defensive line.