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Sometimes, Broncos' DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller take a spin to get the QB

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the move, counter-move world of pass-rushers and blockers, a world where the Denver Broncos' defense is flourishing these days, there may be no bigger risk-reward investment to get to the quarterback than a spin move.

And there may not be too many better at it than DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.

“I’m not going to lie, sometimes it gets me in trouble with the coaches,’’ Miller said with a laugh. “I think sometimes they want me to plan it all out, so sometimes it gets me in trouble, but my spin is all off of feel. But you know, it is a big decision, you’re turning your back on a guy.’’

“Bottom line, when you do it right, at the right time, it works every time,’’ Ware said.

At the moment Ware is the league’s sack leader with 4.5 in the Broncos’ first four games, while Miller has two. The Broncos lead the league with 18 sacks, an exact pace for them to tie the single-season record of 72 set by the 1984 Chicago Bears.

This week the Broncos get a crack at Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who has been sacked just three times this season. Carr has also been one of the least-blitzed quarterbacks in the league so far this season, having faced an extra rusher on just 13.4 percent of his dropbacks. Only the Giants’ Eli Manning has been blitzed less over the season’s first four weeks.

And at some point Sunday in O.co Coliseum, Miller or Ware or both, will drop a spin move on a Raiders lineman because they believe the time is right. When it works it is the road to glory as a rusher can find an inside lane to the quarterback.

When it doesn’t?

“Well, sometimes you spin out of it and the guy gets you in the back, pushes you out, then you maybe leave a big gap, or bigger than the coaches like,’’ Miller said. “That’s why normally they coach you to have it all planned, but I go by feel. If that guy is shooting his hands at me and I’m spinning off it, you want that open space on the inside.’’

“Some guys you cannot spin on,’’ Ware said. “Because they’ve got the big wingspan, they aren’t aggressive and they have quick feet. So, if you spin, they just keep moving back and spin you like a top and they always right there in front of you. But even if you’re facing one of those guys, you have to do it anyways, to let them know you’ll do it later. Besides, when you bring the toolbox to the game, you’ve got to give them everything you’ve got. It’s one thing I’m going to try, I might do it only four, five times a game, but I’m going to do it.’’

Ware, a calculating sort who has filed away gigs worth of data on the way to 131 career sacks, has played most often on the right side in his career -- “I rush 90 percent of the time from there’’ -- and he believes people will see a rusher on the other side of the formation use a spin move more.

It’s because Ware has most often faced left tackles in his career, players selected for their athleticism, big reach and movement skills. Right tackles, much of the time, are more power-centric players in many offensive schemes, and, Ware said, offer a better opportunity for a spin.

“It’s a leverage thing -- if you’ve got an aggressive guy and he doesn’t get his hands on you, you spin, it’s every time you’re in there,’’ Ware said. “It works even better when you go against guys on the right side, against those tackles, those guys are usually bigger and stronger, and more aggressive. So, that’s why you see Von spin more over there.’’

In the end, the potential to leave an unattended lane, a defender who has simply run himself out of a play, exists for a spin move gone bad. As far as Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ opinion on the matter, well, he keeps it fairly simple.

“I like them to get to the quarterback or tackle the guy with the ball,’’ Phillips said. “If they do that, that’s what we’re looking for.’’

“You just have to lose the fear to do it,’’ Miller said. “At first I was always like, ‘Should I?’ But I did it, and got that hit on the quarterback and after that I just lost that fear. Now I’m just going and going. Sometimes the coaches get on me about spinning and not letting everybody know. … When I spin, it’s off a dead run, it’s off feel. And I feel like it works.’’