Broncos LB Baron Browning unleashed his inner Von Miller on Dallas Cowboys. And there’s more where that came from.


Looked an awful lot like Von Miller, didn’t he? Baron Browning was an orange machete against the Dallas Cowboys, slicing through blockers and the pouring rain.

It was all there this past Saturday night in the Broncos’ soggy preseason win over Jerry Jones’ finest. The lightning first step. The bend. The release. The burst that transforms left tackles into sad, slow, meaty turnstiles.

“I didn’t feel like I was thinking at all, just playing,” Browning told me after he’d racked up three tackles, a sack, a QB hit, a tackle for loss, a pass deflection and (for good measure) a special-team assist in Denver’s 17-7 victory.

“I’m really not worried about all the things that sometimes can kind of get on your brain when you’re going into a game. Especially when you get a new position. And I just felt like I was at ease and relaxed.”

It showed. In his first competitive game since being moved from inside to outside linebacker, the second-year defender turned on the jets in the second quarter, ending Dallas’ first full drive of the stanza by blowing past Cowboys left tackle Josh Ball, raising a big right arm and swatting backup quarterback Cooper Rush’s pass straight back into his mug.

Which was only a teaser for the fun to come. With the Broncos up 14-0 and Rush dialing up the Cowboys’ 2-minute drill, Browning put the kibosh on America’s Team on second-and-10 from the Denver 41, sacking the Dallas QB at the Cowboys’ 47-yard line for a 13-yard loss.

“I had beaten (them) the same way before,” Browning explained later. “So I already knew what move I was going to do next. And thankfully, Nick (Bonitto), he went inside … so Nick flushed (Rush) out. And then when I (spun), he was right there. It was really just a team effort.”

But it’s the individual tools in Browning’s arsenal that remind you of a young 58 — the Broncos pash-rusher turns 24 next February — coming off the edge. Like the Vonster, Browning checks in at 6-foot-3, but has the reach, with a reported 6-7 wingspan, to play bigger than his frame.

“I think y’all saw it,” First-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said of Browning, grinning like he’d just found a winning scratch ticket on the curb.

“He was around the quarterback quite a bit, (he) got a sack, a couple tackles. (A) pass breakup. I mean, his acceleration (off) the ball, the ability to bend on the edges, is really good to see. And he came out and played free. I thought it was awesome to see.”

So awesome, in fact, that the only complaint from Broncos fans as a desultory game progressed through an August shower, was that Browning was on a sloppy field for too darn long — chasing Cowboys into the fourth quarter well after an outcome that didn’t really matter had long since been decided.

“Coach (had) said we were going to rotate,” Browning said later, “but I was surprised. I didn’t ask him questions. I didn’t want to be that guy. I just want to keep doing my job and just keep going, and whatever he told me, I was doing.”

And that knock you took on special teams?

“I was fine,” Browning replied. “I just want to be smart … just to get a little stretch, take it easy, give it a few plays, and then just go back out there.”

Wherever Hackett tells him to play in Buffalo on Saturday — the Broncos’ depth at inside ‘backer took a hit early in the Cowboys tilt when Jonas Griffith left with an injury — he’s more than game to answer the bell.

“I was happy to be moved outside,” Browning said. “I wanted to be there last year. I’m glad things worked out the way they did.”

Join the club, kid. Because once you’ve gotten a chance to release your inner Vonster in front of Broncos Country, once you’ve seen the fear in the quarterback’s eyes, it’s awfully hard to stuff that genie back inside the bottle. There’s miles left on those legs. Miles and magic.


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