I wrote during training camp that Miller was missing the glimmer in his eyes. He hasn’t been his usual charismatic self, and I suspect that’s because he knew what was coming.
Now we know for sure: Miller Time is expired for six games.
The star linebacker won’t play against the Ravens (Joe Flacco), Giants (Eli Manning), Raiders (doesn’t matter), Eagles (Michael Vick/Nick Foles), Cowboys (Tony Romo) and Jaguars (doesn’t matter).
By any metric, Miller is one of the top-three pass rushers in the NFL. This is also a Broncos defense built around a powerful and disruptive pass rush. At least, it was the past two seasons. I’ve seen a power shift in training camp; the strength of the defense has been the secondary, not the defensive line or the pass rush, and that could be a problem. But that’s another blog.
In the short-term, I see the Broncos going 3-3 (maybe 4-2) in Miller’s absence. Gloom and doom, right? The Broncos went 3-3 last season. That turned out OK, until it got really cold.
In the long-term, I see the absence of Elvis Dumervil (for good) having more of an impact than the absence of Von Miller (for six games). That should be more of a concern. I expect the Broncos’ failure to come to an agreement with Dumervil eventually will be recognized as a bigger deal than it has been so far.
Also in the long term, like I wrote a while back, I wonder if these mistakes by Von Miller will impact how the Broncos view him when it’s time to pay the man.
Remember, another misstep and Miller could be suspended for an entire season. The Broncos will have to figure out if that risk is worth the kind of money that, say, the Packers committed to Clay Matthews in April.
But that’s for another blog, too.
This defense has issues beyond a six-game ban for Von Miller, me thinks, and we will see that play out.
But this team has Peyton Manning, who has a particular knack for overcoming a shaky defense and leading a franchise to the playoffs. No. 18 — not No. 58 — is the only indispensable player on the roster.