A few days removed from his emotional presser following the loss to the Chiefs, Von Miller was at the podium again.
If you listened closely, he was saying the exact same thing he said Sunday - he wants to win again.
But Miller also wanted to make sure the media - and ultimately fans - didn’t misunderstand his point last weekend.
The premiere edge rusher wasn’t hinting he didn’t want to be here anymore; he was declaring he wants to be part of the solution. But he wants a solution.
And his raw frustration, the most genuine Von Miller we’ve seen, was No. 58 acknowledging that he doesn’t know why they keep losing but he doesn’t want to keep doing it.
“That’s how I was feeling after the game. Everything that I said, that’s how I was feeling. I think the way it was portrayed after that was different,” he said Thursday. “I didn’t want to send a message about me not being here and me not wanting to be part of the solution or anything like that. It was just that I had been feeling a couple things that I had on my chest, and then you mix it in what that tough loss to the Chiefs and it’s just a tough day. “
Miller emphasized that he meant exactly what he said, but that was about losing - not about leaving.
“Everything that I said, I meant it, but I didn’t want it to come across as me not wanting to be here or me not wanting to be a part of the solution,” he said, re-emphasizing that he is “tied to the Denver Broncos” and the relationship is like a marriage. “It’s pro sports and we all know things can change, but for my mindset, it’s a marriage I’m not looking forward to divorcing anytime soon.”
One reason I get salty about the Von Miller drama is he's clearly the best homegrown player of my lifetime. Also clearly a leader and does the little things right.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 19, 2019
Those are guys you hang onto 'til they're done. #Broncos lifers.
That should not only give Broncos Country a huge sigh of relief, but it should also help get fans fired up. The most prominent player on the team is mad about losing and that bodes well.
Several writers and commenters have noted that Miller’s emotion on Sunday was good to see. So often we see Miller joking around, always complimenting untested rookies as well as his opponents. He’s preferred to let his desire to win speak for itself on the field.
Sunday, though, he let us know - and John Elway know - he’s tired of losing.
But Von Miller is not bailing. He’s not asking to be traded. He’s asking - whether he realizes it or not - for the GM to do everything in his power to pay for the kind of team that can take advantage of Miller’s talent again. He admitted winning the Super Bowl early in his career and being part of winning teams from day one was almost a curse because it’s all he knows.
The rest of us know, however, how important it is to have a leader who does remember winning, who remembers that feeling.
“It’s a gift and a curse to have had so much success ... I was born in that age, so that’s what I know,” Miller added. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m not part of the solution because I definitely want to be part of the solution to get us back to the golden days.”
Ah, the golden days. When the Broncos had a franchise QB, a menacing pass rush but also a threatening secondary. And occasionally even an offensive line that a quarterback and its running backs could really be proud of.
And in more traditional Miller style, No. 58 said he believes the team has a lot of the right pieces already with Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay leading the offense and his buddy Bradley Chubb back to help him out on the edge.
Why Von Miller believes the Broncos aren’t too far away from contenting for the playoffs:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) December 19, 2019
“We’ve got Drew Lock in his second year.”
“Courtland Sutton in year three.”
“We’ll have a healthy Ja’Wuan James next year.”
“We’ve got the Colorado Kid.” ( )
“We’ll have Chubb back.”
“You just have to trash this season,” he said. “We have a bright future here. We lost a couple of games, but we were close in a lot of games too. We’re not too far off from where we need to be. I know after the game on Sunday it seemed like we were so far, but in all reality we’re not too far away from where we need to be back in playoff contention.”
There’s the Miller we know and love at the podium.
But he also acknowledged that he’s evolving in his leadership style and recognizing that it can’t just be showing it “on the field” with hard work and tough play - especially with a young football team full of players who haven’t experienced the winning.
“Early in my career, I thought leadership was all about leading by example, but there are so many different elements of leadership. You have to have the right energy. You can’t just come in here down and not talking to anybody. You’ve got to be able to be consistent and talk to everybody. You’ve got to have great energy, you’ve got make plays and you’ve got to give a speech here and there.”
Miller joked that now he “gets all the speechy time” that teams build in to game prep.
“I have all types of sayings and all types of speeches for all the guys now.,” he admits. “I can just feel the young guys’ energy and I can feel their spirit when I say something to them, or I have like a little speech or I tell them stories about the golden days and the Super Bowl. I can just feel them accepting that. You’ve got to mix in a lot of that stuff, you can’t just lead by example and you just can’t be a speech guy. You’ve got to do it all.”
At the end of the day, Miller is still Miller and what he really wants is to just sack the QB into oblivion.
“I just need to get more sacks. Whether that’s playing a lot, playing fewer plays, it doesn’t matter if I’m blitzing or just regular rushing,” he said. “I just have to find a way to get sacks. I think next year I’ll definitely be able to be better at that.”
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