(Eds: Adds details, quotes. With AP Photos.) By PAT GRAHAM AP Sports Writer So Elvis Dumervil doesn't have any sacks through the first two games.
Hardly a big deal this early in the season. Or so the Denver Broncos defensive end thought.
His mom recently called and asked him very matter-of-factly, ''Why don't you have any sacks yet?''
So maybe this was a little bigger deal than he figured.
Dumervil insists his sackless start has more to do with double teams than anything else. Blockers have simply figured out a way to neutralize his patented moves, the ones that led to a league-leading 17 sacks in 2009.
Now, it's up to Dumervil to counter. He's watching tape of sack specialists from around the league, looking for new maneuvers he can incorporate into his pass rush.
''It's a chess match,'' said Dumervil, whose Broncos (1-1) will host Houston (2-0) on Sunday. ''It's all about studying film, knowing what's coming and when it's coming. I've got to get a step ahead of them.''
Them, of course, would be offensive linemen and whoever else tries to get in his way.
Dumervil frequently has to go through a hulking offensive tackle, with a tight end or a running back waiting for him should he break free.
His reputation has simply preceded him. So low to the ground and so fast to the quarterback, the undersized Dumervil is difficult to contain. Well, with one blocker anyway.
''Teams just account for you. It happens. It's not like I'm just running around one-on-ones,'' said Dumervil, who didn't have his first sack until Nov. 6 last season and still finished with 9 1/2. ''I've just got to do a better job chipping and getting around double-teams.
''When (the sacks) come, they will come in bunches.''
That's been the case for Von Miller, who's taking advantage of all the attention lavished on Dumervil. The second-year linebacker is off to a soaring start and is tied for the AFC lead in sacks with three.
Dumervil and Miller teamed up last season to form Denver's vaunted ''Doom & Gloom'' pass-rushing duo.
Given Miller's production, offenses may soon roll their protection toward Miller. Should that happen, Dumervil said he will be ready.
''They can't chip both of us all the time,'' said Dumervil, who is 5-foot-11and relies heavily on his massive wing span to gain separation from offensive linemen.
As for his mom chiming in, Dumervil just laughed.
''She just loves sacks, too,'' he said. ''She's my biggest fan. She's always asking me about sacks.''
Dumervil nearly had a few against Pittsburgh in the season opener, hitting Ben Roethlisberger five times. But he just couldn't bring the big QB to the ground.
''If I get there quicker, we wouldn't be having this talk,'' said Dumervil, a fourth-round pick in 2006 out of Louisville. ''It's not like I'm nowhere around the quarterback.''
Nor is he shirking his other responsibilities. Dumervil has been solid against the run.
''Look, sacks are going to come. Dumervil is going to get his sacks,'' defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. ''It all comes down to situational football. The odds are going to increase greatly if we get a nice, big lead and then Dumervil and Von can get on the pass rush. As far as stuffing the run, he's done a great job of that. But it will all come eventually.''
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio isn't concerned about his premier rusher.
''He's been outstanding,'' Del Rio said. ''We've played some good defense. There are some things we need to do a little bit better and we're working on it. We're cleaning it up. As coaches, we're never happy. It's never good enough. But I'm very pleased with Elvis, in particular. A lot of our guys on defense have started their year the right way.''
It was a tumultuous offseason for Dumervil, who was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Miami Beach, Fla., two months ago, only to have the charges dropped.
''I'm just ready to continue my life,'' he said in August when he was cleared, adding that he ''didn't do anything wrong,'' but was ''in the wrong place at the wrong time.''
As for his slow start, Dumervil simply shrugged it off.
''All you can do is just play ball and overall become a better player,'' said Dumervil, who missed the 2010 season after tearing a chest muscle in camp, shortly after signing a $58 million contract. ''Sacks are what I love; that will never change. Obviously, I do want sacks, but at the same time I've got to do what's best within the scheme of the defense and do my part.''
NOTES: CB Chris Harris (ankle) is probable for Sunday's game. ... Broncos coach John Fox was animated at times when chatting with officials over calls in a 27-21 loss to Atlanta. Asked if he would tone things down with officials this week, Fox said: ''That's all behind us. ... We're all going to do everything we can to get better than we were a week ago, and that includes me.'' Instructed to do so? ''I instruct myself,'' he said.
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