Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL after reportedly violating the substance-abuse policy. There is no question Miller is a huge part of the defense and a big reason why the Broncos were so successful last season. With that being said, will Miller missing four games have a huge effect on whether Denver reaches the Super Bowl in 2013?
The 24-year-old led the team in sacks (18.5) and forced fumbles (six) last season while he also recorded 68 total tackles and one interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Even though four games does not appear to be a lot, it makes up one-fourth of the regular season. That certainly could make or break the Broncos, even if Denver has one of the easiest schedules of any NFL team in the upcoming season. Obviously, not having their best defensive player in the lineup could be detrimental, but is it truly enough to derail a team that is one of the heavy favorites to go the distance?
Considering the Broncos still have a bone to pick with the Baltimore Ravens, the team that knocked them out in the 2012 Divisional Playoffs and who they will face in the 2013 season opener, it does not appear they will go down without a fight even without Miller on the field. Not to mention, there is no way Peyton Manning is going to let little brother Eli Manning beat him in the second week of the season.
The fact is Manning is the No. 1 reason why no Miller is not the end of the world. The veteran signal caller is still one of the best in the business. The addition of Wes Welker to go along with an already very talented group of receivers means the Broncos could very well be unstoppable on offense.
Clearly, the possibility of not having Miller for the first quarter of the season is a legitimate concern. However, it would be a much bigger deal if it were happening on a different team.