CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Von Miller became the face of the Broncos franchise in July. In absence of a marquee quarterback, the Broncos made Miller the highest paid player in franchise history with $70 million guaranteed. The message delivered was simple: we trust you. Be who you are and do what you do.
Through the first three games, no defender has destroyed more game plans than Miller. The outside linebacker leads the NFL with five sacks and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors on Thursday. Miller boasts three monthly awards, the most ever by a Bronco, joining his accomplishments in 2012 and 2014. Champ Bailey, a future Hall of Famer, claimed the honor twice.
For Miller, it seems as if the postseason never ended. As the Broncos bare-knuckled their way to a Super Bowl 50 title, Miller landed the biggest punches. He netted five sacks in three games, including 2.5 and a strip fumble in the win over the Carolina Panthers.
Prior to this year, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips framed Miller's season. He said his goal should be to win Defensive Player of the Year honors, which lost its reigning winner in J.J. Watt to a back injury. After Miller produced four sacks in the first two games, Phillips insisted Miller belongs in the MVP conversation. Only two defensive players have won the award -- Minnesota lineman Alan Page in 1971 and Giants' linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
"If I told you guys my expectations, you would shake your head," said Miller of his lofty goals. "I am just trying to be the best Von I can be and help my team win."
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