CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Von Miller walked onto the stage, providing a juxtaposition from a year ago. No music accompanied his entrance. No costume was required to embrace his “country swagger.” He wasn’t leaned out – he dropped to roughly 230 pounds – to recreate Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video. Tuesday, Miller wore a plain orange hoodie, and a serious demeanor at Dove Valley.
When the first-team All-Pro starts talking in third person, be afraid NFL. Be very afraid.
“It’s all about football. There’s no outside noise,” Miller said, referring to his "Dancing With the Stars" appearances. “I am definitely in a better place physically than I was this time last year. I am getting rest and being able to sleep. I feel a whole lot better. I think this year will be the best Von I have put forward.”
Despite a dizzying six months after winning Super Bowl 50 MVP honors, Miller translated seamlessly to football. He finished with 13.5 sacks, and remained a wrecking ball. Miller admitted Tuesday that missing the entire offseason a year ago was not advantageous. He benefits from being around his teammates. They view him as a leader; caulking that binds the entire locker room.
“I am going to be here everyday. The more time you can perfect your craft with your teammates, you need that to get over the hump,” Miller said, admitting last season’s playoff admission stung. “When you’re not winning. Someone’s going to be upset. A lot of guys got frustrated...I need this time here in OTAs to be a better player. I didn't have it last year and came off fine. But you definitely need OTAs to play at your highest potential.”
For Miller, 28, this represents an interesting season. Everything seems possible. Defensive Player of the Year honors – he lost by one vote last year – a larger presence, a push toward the Hall of Fame. Miller continued to evolve as a mentor under DeMarcus Ware’s watch. With Ware retired, Miller, more than ever, is the face of the defense, if not the franchise.
“I’ve always had great examples of great leadership so I know exactly what it takes. I feel like I have always done that. Now we are missing one of the greatest in DeMarcus. It’s like when Peyton (Manning) left. You don’t just fill that void,” Miller said. “It’s important to me to win games and win the Super Bowl. You have to go out there and earn respect (of teammates). I feel like my whole career I have been the People's Champ of the locker room.”
Miller remains encouraged by new coach Vance Joseph’s first impression. He praised Joseph for his leadership in a room of dominant personalities, especially on defense.
“I love him already. He’s going to do great,” Miller said. “It’s a unique locker room. We have a culture here.”
As for Miller’s Super Bowl 50 helmet, seized by Mexican authorities as part of the recovery of Tom Brady jerseys, the Broncos star doesn’t have it. Yet.
It arrived in Denver, and Miller figures to pick it up eventually. In truth, he never knew it was missing because he hadn’t planned to keep it. The theft, unknown at the time, represented another memorable moment in Miller’s tornado of an offseason.
The past few months, Miller has done little dancing. Just listening. He traveled Europe, worked out and attended multiple Drake concerts.
Alabama tackle Cam Robinson will visit the Broncos on Wednesday. Most mock drafts continue to project the Broncos to select a tackle in the first round among Garett Bolles, Ryan Ramczyk and Robinson. If the Broncos don't go for an offensive lineman in the first round, some names to monitor: Utah tackle Sam Tevi visited, and the Broncos have interest in Julie'n Davenport. It remains no guarantee the Broncos go with a with tackle. Monday, Joseph talked about his desire to add "juice" to the offense, leaving a playmaker at tight end a possibility.