ENGLEWOOD — Von Miller remains the Broncos best player. Tuesday, he stepped in front of the media, talking about his fourth coach in six seasons. At age 30, his youth has disappeared. He is entering the prime of his career with a new white Lamborghini -- a birthday gift from his parents last week -- and clear road to improvement. He sees better play with added weight under new boss Vic Fangio, who addressed the team for the first time as optional workouts began at UCHealth Training Center.
“His message was about technique, assignments. Keep everything simple. It’s easier said than done. It’s about intensity and effort,” Miller said. “He’s an outside linebacker guru and next up for me.”
Fangio will see more of Miller than the highlights revealed last season. While notching 14.5 sacks, his most since 2014, and 27 quarterback hits, his highest since 2015, Miller played between 236 and 238 pounds. He has added muscle this offseason, leaving him at roughly 245 pounds. His goal is to sit between 245 and 248 with a specific purpose in mind.
“It’s not really about get off, speed, getting hurt, agility or movement. It’s when you get locked up with an offensive lineman and what you are able to do with that,” Miller said. “At 245 you can go a little further with that. It’s not a lot, but I need that 10 pounds.”
Fangio insists the Broncos are better off than when he arrived in Chicago in 2015, pointing to Miller, among others. He mentioned the possibility of lining up second-year pro Bradley Chubb and Miller on the same side to stress the offense.
“For me I have said it three times before this, I feel like I am a coach’s dream. Whatever you ask me to do, I will do it,” said Miller before continuing on how he and Chubb can become more disruptive. “We can be better. More sacks, more tackles, more plays, being more dominant in more games.”
It’s hard to see the Broncos defense improving without star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. He skipped the first day of voluntary workouts as he seeks a new contract with one year remaining on his current deal. Miller missed the entire offseason program in 2016, including mandatory practices, before agreeing to a six-year deal worth $114.5 million. I asked him how teammates view Harris’ absence.
“It’s optional, right? It’s an optional period to be here. We all know what kind of pro Chris is on and off the football field. He’s going to be ready to go whenever he’s here,” Miller said. “And when he’s not ready he’s going to be ready to go. He can be on Mars and he’s ‘Strap’ Harris. I support him 100 percent.”
Miller continues to nip and tuck at his offseason methods. He has spent the bulk of the past two months in Denver. He is seeking more consistency in his routine, determined not to miss a single workout.
“It’s good to be back in facility. I would say good to be back home, but I’ve been here. I got really familiar with Denver and the things to do. I really wanted to focus on me and not travel so much. I wanted to stay in the same spot and focus on my nutrition,” Miller said. “I am focused on stacking days, no matter what time I have to work out (sometimes at 2 a.m.). And I think I have done that.”