Good morning, Broncos Country!
The saddest part of listening to Von Miller talk about how it felt to sit out his first game last week since 2013, wasn’t so much him saying he “cried real man tears” at having to be on the sidelines.
It was watching him recount the end of the game, still giddy at the excitement of the last-second win, and then realize he wasn’t out there “with his guys” making that victory happen.
“When B-Mac kicked that kick though, I didn’t feel my knee or any of that,” Miller said. “I was running out on the field like, ‘Let’s go.’ It was tough. It was tough watching, but that’s what I had to do.”
And the edge rusher, who acknowledged yesterday that he has a slight MCL strain, may have to do that again.
“I don’t know. I’m just still taking it day by day,” he said, adding it gets better every day. “But like I said, if I can’t get my exotic movements back, then in my opinion, I don’t feel like I should be out there.”
A very honest Von Miller on how difficult it was for him to miss last week's game: pic.twitter.com/qiHQqymJUq— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) December 5, 2019
Known for the superhuman angle his body can take as he comes around the edge without losing his balance is at least one of those “exotic” moves. Miller spent extra time before the game against the Chargers testing his knee on the exotic-meter, only to discover it wasn’t good enough.
The realization was so heartbreaking for No. 58, he couldn’t verbalize the words.
“I was just trying to really feel it out. I probably could’ve just run around and stayed out of action and stuff, but that wouldn’t be right for my teammates,” Miller said. “I could’ve just limped around and stayed out of action, but that’s not how I play football and that’s not what my teammates needed from me. ...Still, I wasn’t even about to make the call. It took those guys saying, ‘No, Von. You’re not playing.’ ...I cried real man tears. That was a tough one for me.”
But it will be Broncos Country crying “real man tears” this Sunday if Miller isn’t part of the defensive equation that is already minus one premiere edge rusher in Bradley Chubb and will be missing Derek Wolfe, who was having a career year before dislocating his elbow last week against the Chargers.
It’s one thing to not have Miller against the Chargers; it’s entirely another against the Texans.
Taking on one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, the Broncos’ defense will have its hands more than full with the mobile MVP candidate DeShaun Watson at QB, as well as with Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver. It could prove to be a long day for Chris Harris Jr. and Isaac Yiadom.
“They’re really good. They take advantage of [Watson’s] abilities. They have the quarterback run game in there. They have the RPO game in there. Obviously, he can pass good and then the scrambling is the icing on the cake for them,” head coach Vic Fangio said. “He’s really good. They’ve got a really good group of receivers, tight ends and running backs and their O line has be playing better. They’re a hard assignment.”
It’s no easier in the secondary where Fangio noted how his corners are going to have to bring some heat to compete with Hopkins’ aggression down the sideline.
“Really good toughness to where he just fights for the ball. He’s got tremendous hands,” Fangio said. “He’s a guy that you can throw it to if you’re the quarterback, even if you have tight coverage because he outfights a lot of guys for the ball. He’s got those strong hands, big catch radius and he’s a good runner after the catch.”
If Miller doesn’t play, veteran linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu will step in - a prospect that’s been growing on Fangio as Attaochu has proved to the tough-to-please coach he deserves some respect.
“I personally wasn’t that fired up or impressed early, but he’s won me over,” Fangio said, noting Attaochu has gotten “better and better and better” each week. “He’s playing his butt off. I think he likes being here and I think he likes that he’s playing, and he’s won me over.”
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