Von Miller has become renowned for his post-sack celebrations for the Denver Broncos. However, thanks to a number of off-the-field issues this summer, the former second overall pick has been doing very little dancing so far this season. Nevertheless, three weeks since his suspension has been lifted, there is reason to expect Miller will have a break out game versus the San Diego Chargers this week, then dance his way to the playoffs.
The Chargers simply do not matchup well against Miller. With the lack of an effective running game, Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense like to throw 30-45 times a game. While their offensive tackles, D.J. Fluker and King Dulap are both fairly large – Fluker weighs in at 6-foot-5, 339 pounds, and Dunlap at 6-foot-9, 330 – they are inexperienced and have yet to face a pass rush like the Broncos’ Von Miller this year. Can they handle his speed as well as he versatility for 30 to 40 plays a game? Short answer: No.
Miller has a number of blitz moves to the inside and outside, with power or finesse, and a unique blend of blistering speed coupled with exceptional strength. He not only possess the quickness, flexibility and sheer athleticism that allows him to get around linemen, but also, at 6-foot-3, 250, he also has the strength to drive directly through them – especially when they choose to favor his lightning quick first step.
A large part of Miller’s effectiveness is his physical stamina. He is so fast, so strong and comes from so many angles that by the end of a game, the over-sized offensive linemen assigned to block him are completely worn out and left totally guessing what he is going to do next. Three weeks back from suspension, the Chargers game should be the first this season in which Miller is back in game shape for.
You could clearly see an improvement in Miller’s performance from his first to his second week back from suspension when he recorded one sack, two quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and forced a fumble versus the Washington Redskins. After a bye week, he should be in better shape and more in tune with the defense. There is no reason cannot double these statistics against a pass-happy Chargers’ offense.
In addition to providing Miller with an extra week of practice with the team, the Broncos’ bye week also granted a week of rest and the opportunity to regain some health for a rather banged up defensive front – most notably Robert Ayres and Wesley Woodyard. When these players are healthy and playing well, doubling Miller at the point of attack becomes much more hazardous and therefore, much more likely leaving him in one-on-one match-up with the Chargers’ inexperienced tackles.
In four games versus the Chargers, Miller has recorded 21 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. If Miller can use this game as a jumping off point and start second half of the regular season off fast against a division rival, the Broncos may be able to re-define the team’s rather weak defensive identity for late season play.
Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter.