ENGLEWOOD, Colo—Something was noticeably different about Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, as he stepped in front of the media at Dove Valley on Wednesday, following the third day of offseason workouts.
Miller has spent the last two months cleansing his body. He says he’s lost six pounds, but he looks like he’s gained ten in pure muscle. Miller credited his svelte figure to a new lifestyle built on healthy eating, and aimed at building on some of the success he had last season.
“I’m drinking water, about a gallon a day,” he said. “After about two weeks I started to feel a difference. My body is the best that it’s been. I’ve been doing something right. I just want to stay on top of it, and hopefully I can carry that over to the season. I don’t even want to say ‘hopefully.’ I know that I’m going to carry it over to the season. I’m going to be a whole lot better with nutrition and conditioning than I was in the past. I was at a great place last year, and I’m going to be in an even better place this year.”
To build on his 14 sack performance last season, Miller is going to have to be just as hungry on the field as he is off it. The coaching changes that took place during the offseason could help Miller meet his goals.
He’s now playing in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ unique 3-4 scheme. It’s a system many believe suits Miller’s skill-set better than former coordinator Jack Del Rio’s 4-3. Miller says he’s looking forward to getting his shot in the new system.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “It’s a pretty good defense. A lot of great players play in this defense. Coach Phillips has coached a lot of great players. I think it’s going to be an exciting year and I’m looking forward to being back here working—just going over plays and being back here with the guys.”
As for Phillips himself, Miller says he knows a little bit about his new boss. “The NFL is a small community,” Miller said. “I played for him in the Pro Bowl in 2011. I was kind of familiar with him. It’s the same here. He’s a pretty good coach.”
When asked whether he had had spoken with fellow edge rusher DeMarcus Ware, who played in the system during Phillips’ time as the head coach of the Cowboys from 2007-2010, Miller said while he hadn’t spoken to Ware directly about Phillips, he knows that the Broncos new defensive scheme is built around putting each player in the best possible position to succeed.
“We really haven’t talked about it like that but everything that we’re doing here fits right into what I do best: Rushing the passer,” he said. “Cover 3, Cover 4, some of the same stuff. There aren’t too many ways you can run a Cover 3 and a Cover 4. We did some of that stuff last year. I blitzed a little bit last year. I’m going to do some of the same stuff this year.”
The Broncos weight room this time of year is a competitive place. Each player on the roster works extensively with strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson to build their bodies in preparation for the season, all the while testing themselves against their teammates.
However, Miller say his competitive aspirations are higher than just being able to squat more weight than his fellow Broncos in April. Miller says he wants 2015 to be the season he establishes himself as one of the best athletes in professional football.
“I’m not even thinking about guys I’m on my team,” he said. “I’m thinking about guys across the league—the guys that you see on ESPN and NFL Network and all of the elite guys around the league. That’s who I’m thinking about. I always get along with my teammates, and everyone likes that because I never look at it like a competition. I look at it as I’m competing across the league with somebody else."
"I may not be expecting who it might be," Miller continued. "I just prepare for the unknown and try to push myself to a level that whoever is coming up in the league, I can be right there with him. I want to be the best defensive player out there. It’s not about pass rushing. [Texans DE] J.J. Watt, he’s on there for sure. [49ers LB] Aldon Smith—all those guys—[Bills DT] Marcell Dareus, it’s an elite group of guys. It always changes, and I want to make sure that I’m on that list every single year.”
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