ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –The Broncos are preparing for just their second road game of the young 2013 season and in doing so they are getting ready for one of the more formidable defensive front fours in the NFL.
Starting on the ends of the defensive line are George Selvie and All-Pro DeMarcus Ware with three and four sacks, respectively, in the first four games of the season. In the middle, Jason Hatcher and Nick Hayden have combined for three sacks and a forced fumble.
Hatcher and Ware both lead the team with five tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.
"They have a really good defensive front—those two guys especially," Manning said. "They're good players. It's pretty impressive with the injuries they've had with the defensive line, how well they've continued to play. It speaks to their depth. They've always played a number of guys, rotated in. That's impressive, they've had I think three significant injuries, yet they're still creating a lot of sacks and are disruptive against the run."
Selvie started the year as a backup but moved into the starting role after Anthony Spencer went down with a knee injury. Selvie sat out Wednesday's practice as he recovers from a concussion.
Ware has also been a little banged up but fully participated in practice Wednesday.
"All these guys are nicked up and you have to kind of work through that really throughout your roster over the course of the season and DeMarcus is no different," Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call Wednesday. "He's been dealing a little bit with a shoulder thing (and) got a little bit of a back thing.
"But he's a tough guy and he's a competitive guy so hopefully they'll be ready to roll on Sunday."
So far this season the Cowboys have allowed just 77.8 rushing yards per game and have racked up 14 sacks. Both of those numbers rank third in the NFL.
The Broncos, on the other hand, have been able to provide good protection up front for Manning and for the running game. The Broncos average 119.3 rushing yards per game, which puts them in the top half of the NFL and have allowed just five sacks – the second best number in the league.
The battle in the trenches will be particularly interesting as tackle Chris Clark, who made his first start at tackle in Week 3, will have to handle Ware at different times in the game. But Fox said Wednesday that each of the Cowboys defensive linemen can create problems, not just Ware.
"He's a great football player, he's a Pro Bowl guy that's been that way for some time," Fox said of Ware. "Their front seven is very good. Their front four in particular is probably as good as we've played to date."