Shane Ray brings much needed pass rush presence back

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 4: Linebacker Shane Ray
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 4: Linebacker Shane Ray /

The Denver Broncos are getting a huge boost in the pass rush department from the return of outside linebacker Shane Ray…

The Denver Broncos’ defense has been the best in the NFL this season in terms of defending against the run, but a lack of sacks on the opposite side of the formation from Von Miller has been more of a weakness than we probably anticipated. Now that Shane Ray is back, hopefully that will change.

It’s not that Shaquil Barrett has played poorly. As a matter of fact, he’s been one of the team’s best defensive players through the first six games of the season, especially against the run.

But the one thing the Broncos haven’t been able to do consistently is disrupt opposing quarterbacks on the other side of the formation where Miller is getting double and triple teamed.

Someone has to be winning those one-on-one matchups, and it’s been expected dating back to early in the offseason that Shane Ray would be the player to win those matchups.

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The guy is flat out developing into one of the better young rushers in the game, but he doesn’t win always with traditional speed around the edge (though he can) like his teammate Von Miller and his former mentor DeMarcus Ware.

Ray has a wide variety of ways he gets pressure on the quarterback, but against the Chiefs, he may have to rely more on speed than brute strength, as he’s still making his way back from that wrist injury and that’s not to be taken lightly.

With Ray on a pitch count vs. Kansas City, we can’t expect him to be all-world immediately, especially with the nature of the injury he’s recovering from, but I think his presence on the edge opposite Von Miller will be a major asset for the Denver defense, especially if they can force the Chiefs into third-and-long situations early.