ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Crane operators have taken down the "Invesco Field" reminders at what the locals steadfastly refer to as Mile High Stadium, replacing them with "Sports Authority Field" signs.
While the new sponsors spruce up the place, it might be a good time to knock the dust off of the old "Orange Crush" nickname, too — and maybe even remove the "C."
Call these 2011 Denver Broncos the "Orange Rush."
Elvis Dumervil missed all of last season after leading the league with 17 sacks in 2009. While he was recovering from a torn chest muscle, the Broncos endured their worst season ever, but their reward for 4-12 was the second overall selection in the draft.
They used it to scoop up Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller, who collected 27½ sacks the last two seasons. Hall of Famer John Elway, who rejoined the team last winter as its chief of football operations, called Miller a once-in-a-decade talent and thought it was appropriate he chose No. 58 in honor of the late Derrick Thomas, whom many scouts compared him to.
"Doom & Gloom," as they're being called, are already drawing comparisons to the NFL's most feared quarterback harassing tandem of Pro Bowlers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis in Indianapolis.
"Fastest dudes I done seen off the ball," Broncos linebacker Joe Mays said after watching them sandwich Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson all night long during the preseason. "They can rival the Colts' defensive ends right now."
Miller and Dumervil combined for 3½ sacks in limited action against Seattle that night and knocked Jackson around plenty of other times.
"If we can keep that up all year, we're going to have a good year," Champ Bailey predicted.
Hue Jackson, who makes his Raiders head coaching debut Monday night against the Broncos, has certainly noticed the difference the duo makes to Denver's defense, which was the worst in the NFL last year.
"Have I watched them? Are you kidding me? These guys are a highlight reel," Jackson marveled.
With Dumervil back on the field and Miller on board, the Broncos believe they can make up for weaknesses elsewhere to return to respectability in 2011.
"Those two guys should have great years as pass rushers because they're both exceptional edge rushers and Von is an exceptional-exceptional," Broncos defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely said. "He does some things that are just unbelievable, his quickness to get off of the ball and his ability to get on the edge of the blocker and turn his hips to the quarterback ... it's just natural for him.
"He's as good as I've seen."
Miller led the nation in sacks in 2009 with 17, but decided to return to Texas A&M for his senior season. Aggies coach Mike Sherman, who used to coach the Green Bay Packers, moved him from defensive end to hybrid linebacker to capitalize on what he called his "freakish athletic ability."
He had 10½ sacks as a senior even though a high ankle sprain limited him for the first month of the season.
"Oh yeah, Coach Sherman definitely got me ready for this year," Miller said. "The responsibilities he put on me coming back for my senior year to be a traditional linebacker and all the responsibilities that I had (as a team captain), it definitely helped me out for my rookie season."
Sherman said Miller will be a perennial Pro Bowler.
"I mean, I've never seen a guy like him," Sherman said. "He could have been our tailback. He could have been an All-American tight end. He could return punts and kickoffs. He's just a phenomenal athlete."
Of course, there's one big caveat to this sack attack.
"We're not going to get a chance to rush the passer if we don't stop the run," Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said.
The Broncos didn't grab a run-stuffer in a draft full of them and Ty Warren, the centerpiece of their free agency acquisitions, is sidelined by a torn triceps at least until November.
The starters against the Raiders will be Kevin Vickerson and Brodrick Bunkley, who just returned from a knee injury, and their task is slowing down Darren McFadden, something Denver couldn't do last year.
McFadden rushed for 284 yards and scored four times against the Broncos, including a 165-yard, three-TD effort in a 59-14 walloping in Denver.
New Broncos coach John Fox gave his team its motto Wednesday when he declared things will be different Monday night "because this year is 2011, and last year was 2010."
Dumervil is back and he's brought a sidekick with him in Miller.
"Oh man, they're astounding," Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell said. "I look at their defense on film and it looks totally different than last year's."
Dumervil is back to his natural position as an end in the 4-3 scheme after playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 setup. He added 15 pounds of muscle and brings back a ton of knowledge, he said.
Fox said Dumervil "gained weight, gained strength," and "I think that's why his biggest improvement has been versus the run."
Dumervil weighs 255 now, and at 5-foot-11, he'll be facing 6-8 left tackle Jared Veldheer on Monday night.
"Got to play low," Jackson cautioned. "You got to take your 6-8 and make yourself 6-foot."
It's that built-in leverage, plus the knowledge he gleaned playing linebacker, that gives Dumervil hope he'll stuff the run better than ever.Comment on this story
"When I was a young player, I just pass-rushed all the time," he said. "Now, I can sense a run more and I can be more stout against the run. So, instead of guessing, I'm more anticipating now. And I think that will help me out in my overall game."
And it should help the Broncos slow down the run so they quickly get to the quarterback.
"Coach always said you've got to earn your pass rush," Dumervil said. "So, he might put me and Von on the sideline if we can't stop the run."
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this story.
Connect with AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton at http://twitter.com/arniestapleton