When the contract impasse between Von Miller and the Denver Broncos finally ended last summer, Broncos general manager John Elway said, “going forward, we expect great things” from the bespectacled star linebacker.
Elway’s comments were certainly understandable, as he’d just agreed to give Miller $70 million in guaranteed money, the most ever for a defensive player. Great — not good — was the expectation.
Eleven games into the new deal, Miller’s delivered exactly that. He recorded three sacks against the Chiefs on Sunday, which helped him take the NFL lead in that category with 12 1/2.
Miller’s blend of speed, strength and flexibility makes him a nightmare for opposing linemen. Watching him blow by right tackles and swallow up quarterbacks has become almost routine by now.
Poor Mitchell Schwartz, man.
No player is better at disrupting passing situations than Miller. He wreaks constant havoc. Sometimes it results in a sack; sometimes it doesn’t. Miller also leads the NFL in QB pressures, which are simply sacks, hits and hurries added up, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s racked up 62 on the year.
Miller’s demolition of Schwartz in the first quarter, which forced Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith into an errant throw on third down, is a good example of how Miller disrupts QBs even when he’s not sacking them.
That’s just raw power. Miller, who’s lined up on the left, pushes Schwartz into Smith, forcing him to get rid of the ball quicker than he wanted to and fall down.
Even on the rare occasion he’s asked to drop into coverage, Miller can still make plays. The Broncos have so many good pass rushers. DeMarcus Ware, Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray all play outside linebacker. Sometimes that means Miller lines up against wide receivers.
Here, Miller starts in the slot. He quickly diagnoses the play, sprints toward Kansas City tight end James O’Shaughnessy and brings him down.
One of Miller’s more underrated plays Sunday was his open-field tackle of Tyreek Hill. Hill is the Chiefs wideout with 4.24 40 speed. His Twitter handle is @ImFasterThanYa, and he routinely refers to himself as “cheetah” on social media.
Hill tries to put the moves on Miller in open space here, but Miller drills him.
Elway wanted great, not good, when he signed Miller to that mammoth deal. So far, Miller has delivered.
He’s the rare outside linebacker capable of burning offensive linemen in passing situations, manhandling them in the run and bringing down waterbug skill players in the open field.
It’s early, but Miller’s deal looks like it was money well invested.
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