ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — This season is plenty of issues for Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. He’s 32, essentially the most tenured Broncos participant by three seasons, and he is within the final yr of the six-yr megadeal he signed in July 2016, slightly greater than 5 months after incomes Super Bowl 50 MVP.
He has spent a lot of the offseason, when requested, explaining how he’s “at peace” with how he is approached issues on the sector and off the sector. And when Miller is requested about his age lately, there’s routinely a smile and a you are-asking-me-about-my-age shake of the pinnacle.
“I’ve seen my picture with my shirt off,” Miller mentioned. “I feel like it’s the same Von. I just think it’s a different mindset.”
There could also be no higher manner to take the defensive temperature of the Broncos than to see how Miller is doing. If Miller is wholesome, disruptive and celebrating after sacks, life is normally fairly good. If not, there normally is not a lot going on by the point December rolls round.
Score one for joyful, wholesome and get-after-it Von Miller. He was one of many brightest spots within the Broncos’ season-opening win over the Giants with two sacks and three tackles for loss. Sunday was his first sport with no less than two sacks and no less than three tackles for loss for the reason that 2018 season opener.
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“It was probably important for him just to get something like that going,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio mentioned.
“It’s good to see his face again in the huddle when we’re breaking it down and everything,” linebacker Josey Jewell mentioned. “He’s definitely a great player. It’s just fun to see him go out there and kick people’s butt.”
Miller missed the 2020 season with an ankle damage and spent a lot of the 2019 season battling his frustrations with the group’s struggles on the sector.
While the Broncos are ready for the return of the Miller-Bradley Chubb combo on protection — Chubb missed the opener with an ankle damage and the 2 have not performed collectively in an everyday-season sport since Week 4 of 2019 — Miller’s Week 1 launch into the season bodes effectively.
Other than a franchise quarterback, few elite gamers have constantly flourished after their thirtieth birthday within the NFL like the sport’s all-time greatest go-rushers. Bruce Smith had 5 double-digit sack seasons after he turned 32, Reggie White had 16 sacks at 37 years outdated, Chris Doleman 15 sacks at 37 and Michael Strahan had 22.5 sacks at 30 to go together with 18.5 sacks at 32.
So when Miller slammed Giants rookie vast receiver Kadarius Toney to the bottom for a 6-yard loss barely a minute into Sunday’s sport — the form of play he has made when he’s at his greatest — it signaled he is again.
“Sometimes players like him feed off of that and it gets them going,” Fangio mentioned. “They feel like, ‘Hey, I’ve made a play and I can go make another one at some point.’ And I think it’s important too for guys like him, when they’re going through a game and they haven’t had one of those, they start pressing a little bit and get discouraged.”
For the Broncos, who performed with the lead solely 27.9% of the time final season and did not even maintain a lead in six of their video games, Sunday’s opener supplied the go-dashing formulation Miller and the remainder of their rushers want to put up numbers. Time will inform if he can stick with it.
“It was a long road to get here by me personally,” Miller mentioned, “but when you get here you really don’t think about all this stuff. You just think about wins and the next game, for sure.”