On the surface, it appeared that linebacker Von Miller had a quiet opening game of the season. However, if you dig a little deeper, it becomes evident that Miller made a huge impact throughout the entire game.
After abusing the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50—specifically right tackle Mike Remmers—you knew offensive coordinator Mike Shula was going to throw the kitchen sink at Miller, if that's what it took to stop him.
Shula did just that. To account for Miller, Shula sometimes triple-teamed him, double-teamed and chipped him. Shula's plan for limiting Miller included shortening Cam Newton's drop, so that the Super Bowl 50 MVP would have a harder time speed-rushing past Remmers.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... The plan worked, up until the fourth quarter. But Carolina paid the price for selling out to stop Miller. DeMarcus Ware was able to get consistent one-on-one matchups on the outside and Bronco blitzers were able to find their way to hit Newton.
Miller came up with what at the time appeared to be a game-clinching sack late in the fourth quarter, on third down. To go along with his sack, he would finish the night with three solo tackles, one tackle for a loss, and a QB hit.
"One of the mistakes that they had in the Super Bowl was letting me get a lot of one-on-ones and I knew they were going to take that away," Miller said Thursday following practice. "Immediately, the first pass of the game I had three people on me so it was as expected. I was able to keep fighting and get a sack in the end of it."
The best players in the NFL show up in crunch time, when the chips are down. Miller is among them. Still, it boggles the mind to try to understand how he could have the stamina to sack Newton late in the game, while contending with triple teams and the like, throughout the first 3.5 quarters. Miller attributes it to coaching. And anticipation.
“It was Coach [Defensive Coordinator Wade] Phillips," Miller said. "He always tells us when you anticipate something you play faster. When you anticipate something, it doesn’t throw you off. I anticipated that. I saw it coming so it really didn’t throw me off. After a while, I was getting three and two guys, three and two guys, I just want to rush, especially when the game was close.”
Ultimately, Miller believes he is a game-changing player—that he can impact a given game as deeply as any quarterback. The Broncos are paying him like one, after all.
“Yes, I feel like I can have an effect on a game just like a quarterback," Miller said. "I feel like if I can get to the quarterback, then I’ll have an effect on the game as a quarterback would on defense. I’m not throwing quarterback passes or touchdown passes or anything like that, but I’m affecting the throws.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1707196-phillips-defends-his-unit... Miller certainly impacted Super Bowl 50 as much as any quarterback ever has in the NFL title game. When opposing teams are game-planning specifically to stop a single player, you have to marvel at how Miller pulls it off. According to him, he channels the Vonster.
“Honestly, I go into every game thinking that it’s going to be my best game ever, so that’s just the monster that I have and that’s part of the reason why I’ve been so successful at my job for my teammates," Miller said. "When I go into a game, we get the game plan and I get my techniques and everything and I go in to the game feeling like I can have an effect on this game no matter what. If it’s chipped the first down, then the second down I’m feeling like ‘let’s go, you’re not going to chip me this time.’ It’s just the type of monster that I have.”
Miller and his teammates will be again be contending with one of the league's elite quarterbacks this week. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are coming to town. Luck has given Miller and the Broncos a run for their money, holding a 3-1 record vs. the Broncos (including playoffs).
Luck and Newton are similar players, in that they can beat you with their arm and their legs. Miller recognizes the special talent Luck is and even went so far as to take his hat off to him.
“I remember all four of the four times that I’ve played [Luck] and even in the Pro Bowl," Miller said. "I was close in the Pro Bowl as well and still didn’t get him. I tackled him and he’s like, ‘almost, Von, good hit,’ and I think that his character. You’re looking for a quarterback like ,’man get off me,’ but he’s nice and ‘good hit, man’ when he just threw a 35-yard pass. It kind of has a reverse effect on you. He’s nice and it just fires the guys up. He’s one of the great quarterback of the National Football League, the face of the National Football League, he’s a great guy.”
Although he's gotten close, Miller is yet to register a sack on Luck. He will look to remedy that glaring factoid in Week 2.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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