Sometimes you have to believe beyond what your eyes are telling you.
New Broncos linebacker Shaun Phillips was sucking back some oxygen on the sideline before the game began on Thursday night.
It wasn’t a good look for the guy who was supposed to fill the void that Elvis Dumervil left, or for the guy that had to step up his game in Von Miller’s departure.
Phillips isn’t into making a good impression except between the lines. For about $1 million this year, the Broncos got 2.5 sacks out of Phillips through one game. For about $8 million this season, the Ravens got one sack out of Dumervil.
Chalk marks aside, Phillips took words and turned them into motivation.
“I took it personal that everyone was like, ‘Oh what are we going to do about the pass rush,’ but I’ve had like 70 sacks in my career,” Phillips said. “What am I some bum or something like that? I took it a little personal, but again, it’s one game and I’m going to enjoy it.”
The question marks didn’t so much surround Phillips as a player. It more surrounded the departure of the Broncos’ top two pass rushers the last seven years. Dumervil put up 63.5 sacks in his time with Denver and Miller has 30 sacks in his first two seasons with the team.
That’s a lot of quarterback pressure to worry about. Luckily, that kind of pressure didn’t faze the ten-year veteran. Of course, it was a full defensive effort to stop Ray Rice and the run before attacking Joe Flacco.
“One motto that you always have to have is: ‘Earn the right to rush the passer,’ and that’s by stopping the run,” Phillips said.
In addition to the 2.5 sacks, Phillips ended the night with four tackles (two for a loss) and three quarterback hits.
If Phillips needs his own personal oxygen mask on the sideline, then by all means, get him one. He needs the extra air to suck the life out of opposing quarterbacks, and then he uses it for fuel.