On Tuesday, Denver Broncos star outside linebacker Von Miller was suspended by the NFL for the first six games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse program. This is a tough hit to Denver's defense, but it won't derail their season.
The Broncos' first six opponents aren't exactly brutal, and that Peyton Manning guy should also factor into the equation.
Too bad the Broncos don't have a Mt. Rushmore QB at the controls of an absurdly loaded offense to compensate for loss of Von. Oh wait.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) August 21, 2013
And for what it's worth, Denver's division rivals—at least San Diego—expect the Broncos' defense to step up while Miller sits out.
"Obviously, they’re still a talented team. It’s one of those things where, they’re good without him, but they’re even better with him," Chargers tight end Antonio Gates told UTSanDiego.com's Tom Krasovic.
Gates couldn't be more right, and he went on further.
"I don't really see them missing a beat... I’m quite sure that Denver will have somebody in place to step in."
That somebody will be Nate Irving in base packages and Shaun Phillips in nickel sets. Last season, Phillips registered 9.5 sacks, one of them coming against the Broncos in Week 11.
Denver's opponents aren't kidding themselves: Denver will still be a tough team across the board to play against in 2013, even in Von Miller's absence. Once Miller returns in Week 7, the team will bump up from "very good" to "great," in the mind of Gates.
So calm down—it's the Chargers and the rest of the NFL that need to be worried.