Phil Milani of Broncos media joined the crew at ‘First and 10 @ 10’ from Von Miller’s camp at Englewood High School today, so naturally the conversation revolved around the expectations of superstar Miller and star-in-the-making Bradley Chubb for the Broncos’ defense this season.
And those expectations are high.
“Von is excited about the upcoming season and believes he can really take his game to the next level with the new coaching staff,” Milani told Ryan Edwards and Steve Atwater, adding that Fangio said a few weeks ago that the team’s premiere pass-rusher “can be even better.”
Couple that with the sophomore leap expected in Chubb - as well as the comments from Fangio that he’s “a perfect fit” for his defense - the pass-rush explosion in Denver could be back.
So what does it look like for Miller to take his game “to the next level?”
For starters, it means consistently performing at the game-changing level we’ve come to expect from No. 58.
“If you look at Von’s seasons, he always starts off so strong, but then at the end of season, sort of tails off a little,” Milani said, pointing out last season’s three-sack performance against Seattle in Week 1 that only resulted in 14.5 sacks by the end, a less than one sack per game average. “Imagine we get more out of him as the season goes on so maybe we’re talking about a Defensive Player Of the Year type of guy this year.”
Milani believes that having coaches constantly pushing him all season to be at his best will mean a 2015 Super Bowl MVP-type of Von Miller.
“When Von plays at his best, he’s unstoppable. We all saw in that playoff run in 2015 how great he can be,” Milani said. “I think it’s about getting him to be like that every single week of the season.”
That kind of consistency will likely mean higher sack numbers, dropping in coverage and also coming up with a few interceptions, Milani believes.
But all of those things will be even more possible because Chubb is his own menacing force on the other side of the field, making teams choose between one powerhouse or the other for double- and triple-teaming.
And Milani definitely believes Chubb could see big improvement in Year 2 and could be a very likely candidate for the Pro Bowl.
“I’ve seen people talking about 20 sacks this year [for Chubb,]” Milani said. “I’m not sure he gets that high, but there’s also no reason he couldn’t. We know what Vic Fangio has been able to do with pass rushers. He’s a pass-rush specialist. ...I really think [Chubb’s] game is going to take a huge leap this year.”
Bonus Von Miller awesomeness:
Milani had been in Washington, D.C., this week to cover Von Miller being presented the Jefferson Award for all the work he has been doing with Von’s Vision, which has raised more than $4.5 million to help disadvantaged kids get the eye care they need.
And also make them feel extra cool for wearing glasses!
“We set out to help one or two kids. To help over 8500 children is simply incredible, and I’m extremely humbled by it.” - @VonMiller after receiving the 2019 Jefferson Award for his work with @VonsVision58 pic.twitter.com/EDYWb362HF— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 19, 2019
So Milani also followed Miller to his kids football camp at Englewood High School, where No. 58 decided to play wide receiver for a bit.
Even if it was against a 6-year-old!
But Miller also spoke to Milani about his deep appreciation for the late Pat Bowlen, who died last week from Alzheimer’s. Miller was one of the last draft picks to meet Mr. B, and that definitely had an impact on Miller.