ENGLEWOOD — The frustration over the Broncos' 0-3 start manifested in arguably the shortest press conference of Von Miller's career Thursday.
The All-Pro linebacker issued a 12-second statement about Sunday's game and walked off. He has played coy with the media before, pretending to exit. Those fell under the guise of humor. He isn't laughing now. Miller is disappointed in the team's start and his scarce impact on the stat sheet. He is the best player on a defense that has zero sacks and zero takeaways, something no other NFL team has pulled off since the sack became an official stat in 1982.
For the first time since his suspension in 2013, Miller, 30, has become a magnet for criticism. Talk shows have discussed the merits of trading him. Columnists have suggested it makes the most sense.
Into this backdrop, Miller stepped to the podium gave Steve Atwater a fist bump, spoke briefly and walked off.
"I have great teammates, great coaches. I am excited about the opportunity this week versus the Jaguars. We have a great game plan in. I am excited to play," Miller said.
He waved his right hand, then disappeared into the facility and later into the locker room where he played dominoes with teammates. Teammates insist that Miller isn't checked out, but rather determined. I returned to the Broncos beat in 2014, and I have never seen Miller more demoralized about his performance than after Sunday's loss. He pointed the finger at himself, insisting he has to do better. That is the mindset those in the lockerroom told me they have witnessed in his preparation for Jacksonville.
"He's in that mode. We are all excited about what he can do this weekend. I know he has that extra chip on his shoulder with a lot of people talking bad about him and saying he's washed up," outside linebacker Bradley Chubb told Denver7. "I think he's going to go out there and prove it."
Added linebacker Todd Davis, "He's focused. That's what I see. I don't think he's down."
Miller has suffered through three-game sack droughts before, but never to begin a season. It has been a jarring start for Von and a defense that expected a bump with the hiring of coach Vic Fangio. I asked Fangio if there was any discussion of reducing Miller's snaps. He has historically played fewer than 80 percent, partly to get backups work, and partly to have him rested for the fourth quarter. Fangio said there are no plans to change, that "the great players I have coached play more than 90 percent."
Kareem Jackson is questionable with a hamstring injury. If he can't go, Duke Dawson will see his first defensive action. "I am itching to get out there," Dawson said. ... Derek Wolfe (ankle) is still holding out hope he can play, but it will a push. .