Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: Von Miller - 2 Days

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Here's hoping Von has ditched that 5th wheel named Molly and her fat, cheeto-eating cousin Mary Jane.

The Rankings

Overall rank (1-20)

Monty

Bronco Mike

Tim Lynch

Ian

Henson

Scotty

Payne

Topher Doll

Big Pete

Mr. East

---

Jon Heath

3rd

3rd

2nd 2nd 
3rd 2nd 
2nd

3rd

4th --- 3rd

From the Horses' Mouth

Bronco Mike

Losing Von hurts.  Simple as that.  You cannot replicate the chaos he causes to opposing offenses.  As dynamic as Peyton Manning is on offense, Von Miller was starting to become a similar force on defense.  Suspension or not, he absolutely should be ranked this high because it changes the entire dynamic of the defense with him gone.  Our secondary is going to have to hold up more than usual, Del Rio is going to have to scheme to manufacture pressure, and our offense is going to have to win some shootouts during the first 6 games of the regular season. Glad he'll be fresh for a Super Bowl run, that's for sure.

Big Pete

Von Miller is the best defensive player in the entire NFL. You can have your JJ Watt and Aldon Smith and Derrell "I make a living by getting away with holding and pass interference" Revis. I'll take Von Miller! Whether he's #2 or #3 is inconsequential because he's just so damn dominant that he'll justify any top 3 ranking. Will his suspension hurt? Of course it will. You can't replace Von, you can only hope to make up about 1/2 of what he normally does with a collective effort. Derek Wolfe said all I had to hear to justify Von being this high up on the list. He said that last year when they were talking about needing a sack or a pressure, people would say "Von will do it"... Almost like it was a copout for them to play lazy, or focus on their job and leave the "extra" up to Von.

That "extra" is what we're going to miss. The reason why our defense was so great last year is because of Von's "extra" effort and ability. We might not stop a critical 3rd down if other guys take their minds off of their assignments in order to think about having to rush the passer. People can do their jobs and do them very well because Von gives them that luxury by picking up all the extra slack that doing nothing but your job creates. With Von being gone, we're probably going to see more guys out of place as they attempt to take on the extra burden that Von usually took up so seamlessly. Will there be missed assignments because of it? You bet there will, and our defense will ultimately suffer from it. The good news is that we'll have Von back for the back half of the season and the playoffs. By the time he gets back, I really hope that the other players elevated their game so much to make up for Von's absence that getting Miller back will just create an embarrassment of riches.

Jon Heath

These rankings were obviously created before word came out of Von Miller's six-game suspension, but he still may be the second-most important player on the roster this fall regardless of his suspension.  There's an old cliche that says, it's not how you start, but how you finish. The Broncos will finish the season with Von Miller on defense and his performance will be vital to their playoff run.

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