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SB50: Carolina Panthers' offensive linemen know they face challenge

By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
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Carolina Panthers tackle Mike Remmers runs onto the field during player introductions before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 3, 2016. UPI/Nell Redmond . | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/6499eecccb74d1b921fe7a80913de539/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Carolina Panthers tackle Mike Remmers runs onto the field during player introductions before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 3, 2016. UPI/Nell Redmond . | License Photo

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Offensive linemen often can be almost anonymous if they do their jobs well, but there is no chance of that on Sunday for tackles Mike Remmers and Michael Oher of the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Remmers and Oher, who came to the Panthers from radically different directions, will be up against outside linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware of the Denver Broncos in one of the key matchups of the game.

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"They are tremendously talented, they have the total package," said Remmers, who was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State and bounced around the NFL with three other teams before finding a home in Carolina this season. "They have strength, speed and size, plus you can see they are very smart.

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"A lot of defensive linemen have one pet move they try to beat you with, but both these guys have several. They can beat you with speed to the outside, they can make a quick move and go inside, or they can bull-rush you.

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"This will be a tough game for us, but we have to keep doing the things that got us here."

Ware and Miller combined for three sacks and 11 hits on quarterback Tom Brady as the Panthers beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, but he was only the latest quarterback they terrorized.

Miller has 11 sacks this season after ringing up 14 a year ago, giving him a total of 60 in five NFL seasons, while Ware has 7.5 sacks this season and 134.5 over his 11-year career.

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"We've been watching a lot of film on them and you can see how talented they are," said Oher, who was a first-round draft choice of Baltimore out of Ole Miss in 2009, won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2013 but signed with Tennessee last year, and after a disappointing season with the Titans landed in Carolina.

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"They are both very athletic and they have it all when it comes to rushing the passer, and they really get after it. We just have to stick with our fundamentals, our technique, as we have for every other game this season."

Even though they know it's not just another game.

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NOTES

--Defensive end Jared Allen of the Panthers, who missed the AFC Championship Game because of a broken right foot, was limited in practice on Wednesday, but said it was no big deal.

Allen went full speed on Thursday.

"There's no story, there's literally no story," said the 33-year-old Allen, who was traded to the Panthers by the Chicago Bears in September. "I went through individuals and they gave me rest. I got rest on plenty of Wednesdays this season.

"(The foot) is great. Everything is phenomenal. ... We joke about it, nobody is 100 percent after the first practice of training camp."

Allen virtually begged coach Ron Rivera to let him play against the Patriots.

His pleas fell on deaf ears.

"'Coach, I'm ready, I'm ready,' I told him, but he made his decision," Allen said. "I sulked for about half a day, but that was it, otherwise it becomes a distraction (for the team). ... He sees the big picture."

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Allen is another Northern California native who will play in his first Super Bowl before friends and family.

He was raised on a horse ranch at Morgan Hill, about a half-hour drive from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, and attended Live Oak High before transferring to Los Gatos High for his senior year.

"I won a Pop Warner championship game (in San Jose), although we actually got beat but the other team that used over-aged players and eventually forfeited," said Allen, who went on to play at Idaho State. "And I played in a high school all-star game at San Jose State.

"It's been great to chill out with my family when we have had free time this week."

The Allens are hoping for a celebration at the end of it.

--Defensive end Kony Ealy recorded sacks in five straight games at one point this season, stripping the quarterback of the ball on three of them.

However, he has been blanked in the last seven games.

"Sacks do sometimes come in bunches," said Ealy, who was a second-round draft choice out of Missouri in 2014 after deciding to skip his senior season. "But it's not about sacks, it's about putting pressure on the quarterback.

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"If the front four can put pressure on the quarterback, it helps out the entire defense. If the quarterback is going through his reads and he feels pressure, he's going to get rid of the ball before he wants to, which helps the secondary."

That is what he hopes to do to Peyton Manning of the Broncos, who might be playing in the final game of his brilliant 18-year career on Sunday.

Ealy knows that's no easy task.

"Peyton has seen it all and done it all," said Ealy, who has six quarterback hurries in his last two games, even though he has been unable to end that sack-less streak. "He's got that experience thing going for him.

" ... It would be a great feeling (to sack Manning), but at the end of the day, I have to go out there and do my job. We're not going to jump ahead and say, 'I'm going to have three or four sacks,' and try to do too much. I'm just going to do my job."

--All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis has practiced every day this week, despite the broken right forearm he sustained in the NFC Championship Game, which required surgery the next day.

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Davis said there have been no issues.

"It's really just a matter of pain management," said Davis, who will play in his first Super Bowl after 11 NFL seasons, all with the Panthers. "There definitely is a mental aspect as well as the physical, but I know I'm going to play.

" ... When I initially found out, I didn't think that I was going to have the opportunity to play in this game, but from my doctors looking at the images, seeing where the break was and seeing that they could go in and fix it, they told me immediately, 'Hey, we can fix this, and we can have surgery in the morning.' From that moment on, I was excited, and it was all about the rehab process.

" ... Now it's going to make for a better story when all is said and done."

Especially if the ending is written by the Panthers.

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