The stars are aligned for the former Dancing With the Stars contestant. Von Miller has a chance to have a defensive player of the year type of season this coming year for the Denver Broncos.
Name: Von freaking Miller
Experience: 8th season
College: Texas A&M
First of all, let’s take a second to recognize how lucky we are as Bronco fans to literally be watching one of the best ever at his position play the game at such a high level year in and year out.
Since coming into the league, Von has been wrecking shop in opponents’ backfield and doesn’t show any signs of slowing up anytime soon.
Presented without comment.
Von Miller led all edge defenders in total pressures this season! pic.twitter.com/ARXNujCc2E— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 1, 2018
Von Miller hasn't just been good at getting pressure— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 21, 2017
He's been the best pic.twitter.com/sicKYcinUK
Von Miller has dominated since arriving in the NFL! pic.twitter.com/Puunpeqtmb— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 30, 2018
So after the kind of year that Miller had last year, where he posted double digit sacks for the 6th time in his career, and led the NFL in pressures, how could he be even better than he was?
Two major factors are in place this year that I believe will help Von Miller reach new heights in 2018.
With the rookie Bradley Chubb arriving on the scene, Von Miller has a consistent Robin to his Batman.
Consider that the two most productive years of Von Miller’s career (2012 and 2015) he had a pass rushing partner opposite him who also exceeded 60 pressures on the year. Miller posted his two highest sack and pressure totals in that year, and also had his most efficient pass rush seasons on a per snap basis those years as well, according to a great piece by Pro Football Focus on the topic.
However, last year, when offenses’ full attention was on him, he still led the league in pressures, and had an incredibly efficient year on a per snap basis, suggesting that he is not slowing down, and in fact may just be getting warmed up.
Add in the fact that now he will have the luxury of an improved pass rush around him with Chubb (not to mention Barrett and Ray), and Von Miller should feast in 2018.
This one all of Broncos Country is crossing their fingers on, but by all accounts, we should have at least a marginally improved offense next year. If nothing else, the turnovers should be significantly lowered, which is what really affects the defense in terms of field position and rest.
DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller used to talk all the time about when the offense was able to get a lead, it makes it so much easier on the pass rushers. Well, Denver hasn’t played with a lot of leads these past two years.
Denver was 31st (“bested” only by Cleveland) in the average lead at the beginning of every defensive drive - checking in at -3.59 points. Which means, on average the defense started each drive down by over a field goal. How easy do think pass rushing against that is?
If Case Keenum and the offense can generate points with any kind of consistency, and keep turnovers to a minimum, it will be better than any offense Von Miller has had backing him up since 2014.
On DeMarcus Ware saying Miller is more of a leader now than when they were teammates
“Yeah, I think just after a while you—when they first put you in the leadership light it’s like you want to lead a certain way, you want to lead by example and you don’t really want to talk. I think after a while all of that stuff is out the window. Now it’s time to really go all the way in, and it’s just something that I had to get comfortable with. After following [Former QB] Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, it takes a little bit of time to get comfortable with it. But I’ve got a firm grasp on it now. We’ve got young guys that’s ready to learn, young guys that are ready to do whatever to help this team. You’ve got guys around that it helps with the leadership process.”
I’m expecting even bigger and better things from Von Miller and this defense than we have seen the last two year.
Again, I can’t reiterate enough, soak this in Broncos Country. We have one of the greats on our side. I’m excited to watch him do his thing this year.
I’ll leave you with this tidbit. Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning will all make more money this coming season than Von Miller’s yearly contract value.