ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller admitted shock after Oakland traded superstar Khalil Mack. He was a Raider of a Lost Art, a player capable of providing a pass rush and wrecking a game plan.
He was, um, Von.
Now as the Broncos prepare to face the Centrum Silver and Black, the focus shifts squarely to Miller. He opened the season with three sacks in the win over the Seahawks. He talks of reaching 30 -- an unrealistic number -- but is 20 out of the question?
In a word, no.
Miller owns five three-sack games in his career. After his previous four, Miller netted a sack. Carrying the momentum into this week remains critical for a defense looking to remind folks it belongs among the elite.
"Of course we have that chip on our shoulder," outside linebacker Shane Ray said.
Miller will face a difficult test in right tackle Donald Penn. But when Miller is right, no left tackle -- or right tackle for that matter -- can stop him. Miller enters Sunday with 5.5 sacks in his last seven games against the Raiders.
"It’s a huge challenge. Penn's a strong guy, a big guy and one of the better tackles in the league for I don’t know how long. The Oakland Raiders have the best offensive line in football, in my opinion. I’m sure you all would say Dallas Cowboys, this team or that team, but to me the Oakland Raiders have the best offensive line in football," Miller said. "And they made it a whole lot better with the (tackle) Kolton Miller pick and moving Donald Penn to the right side. Really all five guys are really Pro-Bowl solid, offensive lineman.”
Miller wrote a diary of havoc Sunday. It played out according to script. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods continues to place emphasis on freeing up Von for sacks. Better personnel with tweaks in the scheme should help.
"It's a little bit of both. Von, we all know, is just a different type of player. Athletically, he's gifted. He can do it all. The thing we want to do is we wanted to create more balance in terms of what we were doing this year -- in terms of our pass rush, " Woods said. "With (Bradley) Chubb, Shane (Ray), Shaq (Barrett), they give us the ability to do that. So, if teams want to slide a protection his way, put chippers his way, then we've got to win on the other side to make them play honest. I think the plan that we had worked out for us.”
Dancing with the Stars II
The pupil becomes the teacher. Von Miller can now teach DeMarcus Ware how to excel on the big stage. Ware helped Von realize his potential, capping with his Super Bowl 50 MVP honors. Now Von can help Ware, the Broncos pass consultant, maximize his moves on "Dancing With The Stars." Ware is a contestant on the upcoming season. Von made it through several weeks, before missing out on the mirror ball.
"He told me he was going to be on Dancing with the Stars. I didn’t say anything, but he told me. He told me a while back. So, I’ve been kind of giving him pointers," Miller said. "It’s Dancing with the Stars. Everybody’s going to dance. They want to feel a connection. They want to feel a story. They want to feel the charisma and they want to have a connection with the contestants on Dancing with the Stars. It’s not all about dancing. I know it’s called Dancing with the Stars, but dancing is probably just, in my opinion, like 50 percent of it. DeMarcus, he needs to show them that personality. He has to make people laugh and have a story and connection with the fans. I know he’s going to be able to do that, so he’ll have a great stint on Dancing with the Stars.”
Bradley Chubb will definitely watch his coach a few times. His mom is a big fan of the show. He wondered how Ware's back would hold up? I thought the same thing. So I asked Von.
"Troy, all he has to do is the salsa, not rush the passer," Miller said. "He will be fine."