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DeMarcus Ware: Broncos will be better than last year

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The Denver Broncos will become just the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl and enter the following season without their top two quarterbacks. General manager John Elway also has lost two key starters from a defense he hailed as the best he's ever seen.

For the first time since Elway and Peyton Manning arrived on the scene in 2011, the AFC West might just be up for grabs.

Nine-time Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware scoffs at that notion.

"I think it's going to be a better year than last year," Ware said Monday, via the team's official website.

Ware is basing his optimism on a dominant defense that carried a limping offense to the Super Bowl. Specifically, Ware envisions breakout performances from rotational edge rushers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett.

"I think that's how those guys are going to mature this year," Ware added, "and they have a whole other year -- all of us together."

Ray and Barrett are expected to pick up extra snaps this season with Ware transitioning to a third-down role, commensurate with his recently restructured contract.

"(Elway) knows I'm not here for money. I'm here to win championships," Ware explained. "I'm here to go over and beyond and build a legacy for the Denver Broncos. And I think that was a smart move by everybody, and I'm glad I'm still able to be here playing."

If Ware is going to add a fourth Lombardi Trophy to Broncos headquarters this season, his defensive cohorts will have to continue to do the heavy lifting for an offense that has yet to solve its quarterback conundrum.

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