The “next man up?” Well that’s none other than linebacker Shaun Phillips. That’s right. The former San Diego Charger that Broncos Country used to love to hate will be the Broncos’ (hopefully) significant pass rusher.
Phillips will be stepping in for Von Miller at strongside linebacker throughout the six-game suspension.
“I think he’s had a heck of a camp,” John Fox said. “He’s playing the open end. He’s got the ability to play ‘Sam’ linebacker.”
Phillips can play both defensive end or linebacker, which bodes well for the Broncos. No matter where he is on the field, however, the team will be looking for him to step up in his new role.
“It’s not just about the sacks,” Phillips said after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s about the coverage and it’s about the sacks. It’s about stopping the run, because we all know you can’t get sacks without stopping the run. Right now our philosophy is if we stop the run, the sacks are going to come.”
Phillips has started in every single NFL game that he’s played in. That says a lot about the ten-year veteran who has 69.5 sacks, 355 tackles, 20 forced fumbles, and six interceptions to his name.
“I think I’ve been successful without Von so far,” Phillips said. “It’s a bonus to have a guy like that on the field because he’s an amazing player. But you live, you learn. He’s going to get better from it and we’re going to get better from it.”
Phillips isn’t the only guy that will have to step up in Miller’s absence. Now starting weakside linebacker Danny Trevathan will get the opportunity of a lifetime.
“There are responsibilities out there, I’m not taking it like it different,” Trevathan said. “We’re going to treat it like an injury. ‘Next man in,’ I’m going to go out there and try to make plays.”