2015 has been an up and down year for Denver Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller. The 26-year-old three time Pro Bowler came into this football season as one of the leading candidates for Defensive Player of the Year. Miller, it was thought, would thrive in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. However, Miller has yet to produce on the stat sheet at the level necessary to win that prestigious award.
That is not to say Miller has not played well this season. In fact, the tape reveals Miller is playing at an exceptionally high level. He finds himself close to the quarterback on nearly every rush, thanks to a first step that is still among the fastest in football.
However, thus far in 2015, Miller has produced just 20 total tackles and six sacks. That can be credited to two things. First, opposing offenses have placed a clear emphasis on keeping Miller out of the backfield. He faces double teams on a more consistent basis than almost any player in the National Football League, and the number of double teams he faces has only gone up since defensive end DeMarcus Ware was sidelined with a back injury.
Yet, double teaming Miller is often still not enough to contain the dominant pass rusher. When all else fails, offensive linemen have tended to get particularly touchy-feely with the former first team All-Pro. To say Miller is held on a regular basis would be among the biggest understatements of the year. Yet, rarely have offensive linemen been flagged for holding Miller, no matter how blatant the offense.
Speaking to the Denver media on Thursday, Miller said he is not letting the official’s mistakes bother him.
“I’m just out there playing the game,” Miller said. “I just learned from an early age just not to go out there calling for it.”
Miller knows his stat line does not reflect the juiced up numbers many expected from him coming into the season.
“I think my play, and when everybody turns on the tape, that’s where you get the respect from,” Miller said. “I’m not out there looking for the respect of the fans and all that stuff. I’m out there for players to turn on the film and see what’s really going on.”
He is right. Turning on the film shows Von Miller to be just as dominant a defensive player as he has ever been, and fans should expect a breakout game from him in the near future.
“My time will come,” Miller said. “I’ve just got to keep rushing the quarterback.”