The Denver Broncos season opener has was anything but a walk in the park. When you play teams like the Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton, you have to come out aggressively. That was what safety Darian Stewart and the Broncos defense did and plan to do all season.

“That was the key last year, so that’s how we’re trying to get going this year,” Stewart told Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on Mile High Sports Radio.

Some see it as playing dirty, but Stewart’s main point is they have to be aggressive.

In the first half against the Panthers, the Broncos defense couldn’t get off the field as Carolina converted on multiple third down situations. In the second half, they were able to make changes and stop those conversions from happening.

“We tackled better [in the second half],” Stewart said. “We didn’t really get off the field in that first half on third downs. I thought we did a good job in the second half getting off the field.”

Stewart, who had a sack and a forced fumble in Super Bowl 50, doesn’t think it matters to this great defense who they are facing. The opposing team will always come out trying to prove something.

“I feel like we will always have that target on our back because we are the defending champs,” Stewart said. “They know when they play us, they have to give it their best shot. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. They will come out and try to out physical us.”

With the Broncos’ tough schedule to open up the season, they will face some of the top quarterbacks in the league. After Newton the Broncos face Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston. That doesn’t seem to worry the defense, as they go into every game with the same mindset.

“We don’t feel like it matters,” Stewart said. “If we just go out there and do what we do, I don’t think anybody could beat us. Last year we were really battle-tested. We played every top quarterback in the game. This year, we are looking forward to that same task. Competing and getting as many interceptions as we can.”

Luck and the Indianapolis Colts come into Denver this Sunday. Luck put up great numbers in a loss to the Lions. The Broncos will look to shut Luck down but Stewart feels like they faced a better quarterback in Week 1.

“I would say Cam [Newton] just because of their outstanding offense,” Stewart said. “He passes, he runs the ball. He’s like a third running back.”

Listen to the full conversation with Darian Stewart, including his thoughts on if the defense plays dirty, in the podcast below…

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