ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For two weeks Denver's defensive effort and fundamentals have been questioned. All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller struck back with confidence at his Tuesday press conference, opening eyes with his candor about the matchup with Arizona.
"I wouldn't say it's must-win, but we are going to kick their ass, though. Make sure you put that up there," Miller said defiantly. "They are going to get our best this week. Last week, the week before that, whatever, this week, Thursday night prime time, they are going to get the Broncos best."
The sense of urgency, growing since the loss to the Jets, escalated after the Broncos lost to the Rams with 9,131 no-shows. Anger and apathy is setting in with a fan base that hasn't suffered back-to-back losing seasons since 1972. For the Broncos, Arizona represents a chance to begin a U-turn. The Cardinals are 1-5 and have the league's worst offense.
"This week is totally different," said Miller, who ranks fifth in the league with 5.5 sacks. "They are going to get our best."
Indulge me. Let's travel down Sesame Street to understand how the Broncos ended up on this potential road to nowhere.
One of these things is not like the other:
Charmin. A baby's blanket. Thunder's nose. Rush defense.
When it comes to soft, this the last place Denver's defense wants to be. During a radio interview Monday, Broncos general manager John Elway labeled the interior "soft" and a "big, big concern" after Denver allowed 593 yards on the ground in back-to-back games, an NFL record since the merger in 1970.
For the Broncos to snap their losing streak and win on the road for the second time in 13 games, they need to apply gauze and bandages to the gashes up front. No team has ever allowed back-to-back 200-yard rushers.
"Guys have to want to do it," said Joseph, citing the missed tackles. "We have to ignore the noise. The city is on fire. We get it. We have to win."
The Broncos believe the rush defense will improve. Their pride has been challenged. If not now, then when?
"We have a lot of guys on this defense that are hungry," said rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb, who netted three sacks last week. "We just know that wasn't our best effort. We want to change that and get that off the film."
No Ray or Veldheer this week
Outside linebacker Shane Ray will not play this week, according to a source, as he needs more time to recover from a high-ankle sprain. Ray injured the ankle when a Rams lineman rolled up on him. Right tackle Jared Veldheer also did not practice, leaving him unlikely to go against the Cardinals.