DeMarcus Ware & Von Miller

Miller and Ware have combined for 23 sacks this season, second most for a duo in the NFL. Kevin Terrell/AP Images

LEGWOLD: Von, what did you know about DeMarcus before he came to Denver from the Cowboys this season?
I grew up in Dallas, a huge Cowboys fan. The way he played his game is what I wanted in my game. When I was in high school, I started wearing the white gloves like him, the white tape, standing like him in my two-point stance. When I went to college [at Texas A&M], I started playing linebacker, but I just had this idea that I wanted to be a defensive end. I was going to look like him, I was going to be a defensive end like DeMarcus.

Ware: When I saw him in college and at the combine, it got to where I was like, "Who is Von Miller? I started watching some tape, and I said, "This dude is fast." Then I started thinking like a scout, like what kind of bend does he have? I started seeing him come around the corner, and I ain't seen anybody come around the corner like that - Derrick Thomas could come around the corner like that.

Can you move like that?
I'm more like a power, stab, trick-'em type guy. I used to be able to move like that, but now it's only every once in a while I get the corner. But with Von, when I got the opportunity to play in Denver, I got the opportunity to teach him what nobody taught me. I told him, "You can be the best outside rush 'backer in the league if you want to be. I'm going to give you everything that I got." And he listens.

Are you a good listener?
Yeah, to DeMarcus. I probably listen to DeMarcus more than my coaches sometimes.

Von, last season was tough for you, with the missed court date, the drug policy violation and the suspension. What's the biggest difference now?
When you're threatened with everything being taken away from you, you have to get your priorities in order. I had a chance to be one of the greatest ever. To get that opportunity back, I'm going to take full advantage.

Do you think it would have turned out differently last year if you had had someone like DeMarcus to lean on?
I think my year would have turned out the way it did, with everything, even if DeMarcus was here. It was just something I had to go through. I would have liked for all that stuff, the suspension, not to have happened. But honestly it took that for me to be where I'm at right now.

Has DeMarcus helped you with that?
Oh yeah, I see the way he practices in Year 18 in the NFL.

Ware: Ten, it's 10 years. Just 10.

Miller: We go out in practice every day and see who's going to get the most sacks.

Ware: A competitive mentality, we compete. Third-down get-off, who's the fastest?

Friendly or not friendly?
It's like playing a video game.

Ware: We just go, let the better man win. He usually wins; he's pretty quick. But if I win, I'm going to talk trash.

How many age jokes does Von dish out a day?
I don't really give him too many. It's not like he's old in the locker room; he blends in with us. I played with Brian Dawkins, and he was a whole lot older than everybody; he was like Pops in the locker room. DeMarcus is right in there with us. He doesn't have to be like the old Pops guy.

Ware: At first I had to get used to the jokes because I'm not used to joking at all. It was just a different atmosphere in Dallas. You have younger guys here, and they are close-knit. I was used to just chillin', going back to my locker, doing what I need to do, staying quiet. They joke around all the time here, and they are treacherous. I wait until I have a real good one before I say it. It probably took me about three days when I first got here to give it back a little bit.

Footballwise, how has Von helped you?
Playing with the Cowboys, I was always the key guy, I was always the guy they wanted to double-team. But now when I look down the line of scrimmage and see Von looking back, I know I've got a partner in crime. If you want to double-team me, you leave him by himself, and he's going to crush you. It's made me a better player, given me more of a spark to know that somebody has my back.

Von, there was a moment in training camp when you brought DeMarcus over to meet your mom. What did you say?
She asked me if I could bring him over. When I was growing up in Dallas, that's all my mom watched, DeMarcus. She really didn't like Deion Sanders, she really didn't like Troy Aikman.

She didn't like Troy Aikman?
No, she's tough, my mom. She didn't even like the Cowboys, she was always the one to go against the grain. But when we got DeMarcus, that was the position I played and she liked the way he was getting sacks, so she just liked DeMarcus. He was her favorite NFL player. When I got to the NFL, she had two favorite NFL players.

Are you still No. 1,0 or is it close?
I'm always going to be No. 1. It's my mom. But DeMarcus has got all the commercials and stuff. Moms love that.

Do you believe you can win a Super Bowl together? Ware: I think we can, but I think Von and I need to push it up another notch.

Miller: In the San Francisco game, we went against a good offensive line. What we did in that game, the type of rushes we had, the type of effect we had on the quarterback, that was a piece of what we can do every week. When we're on point like that, I don't really feel like there's an offensive line that can block us. If we can put that timer on the quarterback, we can make our secondary and linebackers better and in turn we can make our defense better, which makes our offense a whole lot better. Me and DeMarcus have a unique position, and if we're playing our best, that makes everybody else's job easier. If we can do that, going into these games, we can definitely win a Super Bowl.