ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** Russell Wilson might be the most athletic quarterback the Broncos will play this season, but that doesn't mean the team isn't used to seeing guys back there with some mobility.
Though Andrew Luck is an increasingly polished passer, he can certainly move as well, showing off his legs as he scooted up the right sideline for a 9-yard touchdown against the Broncos in Week 1. Last week, Alex Smith picked up 42 yards rushing on five carries, even ripping off a 25-yarder on third-and-4 in the first half.
"Yes, yes and yes," Terrance Knighton said Wednesday when asked if he was tired of facing mobile quarterbacks. "But that's what the league has evolved to is quarterbacks who can beat you with their feet and their arm. It's kind of good that we're getting them back-to-back-to-back because they're similar in ways."
"Each week you're preparing for a running guy, a guy that can make those big plays" DeMarcus Ware added.
A highly-touted Denver pass rush has been solid so far with five sacks through two games, but facing scrambling signal-callers has probably limited that number. Von Miller's improving health and better chemistry with Ware should give the rush more bite as the year goes on, but more opportunities to turn it loose upon statuesque opposing QBs can't hurt either.
"You still go full go, but in the back of your mind, you're thinking about your rush lanes and not allowing him to get out of the pocket and make things tough for our DBs," Knighton said. "We'll just have to rush smart and just have a cage rush mentality, just keeping him in the pocket, forcing him to beat us with his arm and make the receivers beat our DBs."
Since he was drafted in 2011, Miller has often been utilized as a quarterback spy against more mobile opponents, mirroring the QBs movements and closing quickly if he gets the opportunity. That was the case in one of Miller's best games as a pro, when he spied Cam Newton frequently in Charlotte and picked up four tackles for loss, a sack, and pressured Newton into throwing an interception that Tony Carter returned for a touchdown.
Check out the best photos from Thursday's practice at Dove Valley.
That role for the linebacker resurfaced some during the first two weeks of the season, most notably with Miller spying Luck on the game-clinching fourth-and-6 incompletion late in the fourth quarter. How often he'll be used that way this weekend remains to be seen, but his presence will offer Wilson some different looks than he saw in the Super Bowl.
"It's a little tougher to get him down," Miller said of Wilson, "But I figure if we just play our game, if we can bring pressure from all different angles, somebody will be able to get him."
"You've got to be able to just rush and you got to have a feel for the guys around you."
How well the rush can contain Wilson in the pocket to limit his time and space is only half the battle. The secondary knows the burden once again falls upon them to "plaster" the Seahawks' wide receivers, as Aqib Talib said Wednesday.
"Russell Wilson, man, him being able to extend plays, just like Alex Smith, that's what makes these guys who they are," Chris Harris Jr. said. "We've got to be able to cover longer, like we have been for the last couple of weeks."
"We were doing that today in practice: Just working on covering forever, while the quarterback runs around. You can never get used to that."
Even if they can't get completely used to it, the Broncos' preparation of Luck and Smith should only make defending Wilson this week more natural. The experience could come in handy down the line as well, with Geno Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Derek Carr (twice), Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith (again) and E.J. Manuel all on the schedule ahead.
"We'll continue to see guys that some run it better than they throw it, some throw it better than they run it," Jack Del Rio said Thursday. "We just get ready for each individual guy."
"I think experience, learning some of the do's and don't's helps. It's still a challenge to go out there and make sure you execute your job and make sure you take care of business the way that you're supposed to."
Still, through all the preparation for these athletic gunslingers, Harris would be just fine facing someone who is a little less fleet of foot.
"I can't wait until we play somebody immobile," Harris said, adding with a laugh, "We need a Peyton Manning!"