Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray is eligible to return off injured reserve against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 30 and a shortened season has forced him to adapt his goals for 2017.
After focusing a lot of his energy during the offseason on becoming a more complete pass rusher opposite Von Miller, Ray wants to do his part to keep the Broncos in the NFL’s top spot for rushing defense. He still wants to notch a sack a game over the final nine weeks of the season, but now he has a renewed focus on gap integrity.
“It heightens my focus to come in with those guys playing as well as they are in the run game,” Ray said according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “When I come in, I need to make sure that I’m gap-sound in everything I do. Because the reason we’re so effective is because everyone is doing their job.
“For me, I want to come back and make sure we stay the top run defense, make sure I’m not the reason those numbers drop. In doing that, I’m not worried or concerned about that.
“We’ve done an excellent job in run defense, and of course the more sacks we get the better our pass defense will be as well. It goes hand-in-hand. I want to come back and bring as much pressure as I possibly can.”
With DeMarcus Ware battling injuries in 2016, Ray stepped in to play critical snaps last season and played well, collecting 8 sacks. However, as a full-time starter, the expectation will be that he gives the Broncos a more consistent compliment to Miller off the edge.
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