Broncos fans must appreciate Von Miller, best-ever Denver defender

Von Miller sacks Josh Rosen. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.
Von Miller sacks Josh Rosen. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

Broncos fans, do you appreciate Von Miller?

I mean, you must be in awe of his play, from week to week, running through grown men and making them look like children. But, do you really appreciate every game he plays?

His greatness is so astounding, basically every week, it’s easy to become complacent with Von Miller’s dominance of the gridiron.

However, Miller’s display on the football field this week was too massive to ignore. He enjoyed two sacks and two forced fumbles on rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, and nearly forced a third but it was ruled Rosen’s arm was moving forward.

On one of the sacks, he ran around right tackle Andre Smith like Smith was standing still and then batted the ball out of Rosen’s grip with both hands. Like a kid who was just excited to be there. Miller’s second strip-sack was even more extraordinary; he stunted inside, plowed over a guard, bounced back up and sacked Rosen from the side to cause another fumble.

Miller sprang up like a cheetah, diving on an antelope. That play will be on Miller’s Hall of Fame highlight reel, when he’s inducted, five years after he retires. But, that’s a long time away; Miller’s not even 30 years old yet, which is thrilling news if you’re a Broncos fan.

Since his drafting by Denver, Miller now has 91 sacks and 25 forced fumbles, each of those numbers are most in the NFL over the last eight years. Following his entering the league, he’s been the best edge-rusher in the world, and it hasn’t been close, most years.

Miller’s not just the best sack specialist in the NFL since 2011, he’s also rising in the ranks among Broncos defenders all-time. With seven more sacks, the “Vonster” will pass Simon Fletcher as the best sack man in the history of the Denver Broncos. To me, he’s already the best defensive player in Broncos history, and that’s no slight to any of the other brilliant players to come through the Mile High City since 1960.

Randy Gradishar should be in the Hall of Fame, so should Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith and Louis Wright. But, in terms of complete and total dominance, Miller is in a class of his own.

So, he’s not only the best sack man since 2011, and the best defender in Denver’s storied franchise history, but Von Miller is also working his way up the list of greatest defenders in the history of the entire NFL.

By passing the 90-sack plateau, Miller became the fourth-fastest player to reach that mark behind Reggie White, Bruce Smith and DeMarcus Ware. He and Ware are friends, playing together in Denver from 2014-16 and Smith attended Miller’s pass-rush summit this summer. If the “Minister of Defense” was still alive, I’m betting he’d be buddies with Miller, too.

The Broncos superstar is laid-back, fun-loving and never seems to take life too seriously. In the lead-up to the game last Thursday, he told the media of the Cardinals, “We’re gonna kick their ass.” Then, he walked the talk.

Now, with 91.0 sacks, Miller stands at No. 43 all-time. With seven more sacks this year (he has 7.5 in 7 games) he would push all the way up to a tie with Joey Porter at No. 33 all-time. And if he could somehow record 10 more sacks this year, Miller would skyrocket to 30th all-time.

At the top of that list is Bruce Smith, with 200 career sacks, and behind him is Reggie White, with 198. The crazy thing is, the way Miller is playing, he could one day be atop them all. At the very least, he’ll almost certainly land in the top-10, needing 48 more to hit that mark.

In terms of forced fumbles, Miller is No. 36 all-time currently, with Robert Matthis leading the pack with 54. That would be 29 more forced fumbles than he has already, but it’s not out of the question, either.

Because, the best part is, he still has many years to play, many more quarterbacks to sack and fumbles to force along the way.

Right now, he’s in his prime. At 29 years old, Miller still has 3-5 seasons of playing in his prime before we get to his older years, which will still likely be very good.

It’s why right now, Broncos fans all must embrace every moment Miller is on the field, they must appreciate everything he does. He’s never been a one-trick pony; he can speed rush around a defender, power-rush through them, stunt to go inside or jet down the line to tackle a running back for a loss.

Don’t take prime Von Miller for granted, we may never see another defensive player live up to the standards he’s currently creating in Denver.

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