The Denver Broncos took a beating this weekend in their 23-10 loss against the New York Giants. Though they lost the game Sunday, one player in particular is still chasing history. Linebacker Von Miller, with 78.5 career sacks, is closing in on the Broncos’ all-time record, and in only his seventh season, he looks up at only a pair of Ring of Fame players between him and the record. Second on the Broncos’ all-time list is linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, who tallied 79 sacks over his 12 seasons. Miller could pass Mecklenburg by dragging Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers down on Sunday.

It’s Simon Fletcher that Miller trails for the Broncos’ all-time sacks crown — by 19.

Fletcher played eleven seasons for the Broncos, and never missed a single game (172 in total) on his way to setting the team record with 97.5 sacks. Fletcher led the Broncos in sacks for seven consecutive seasons (1988-94) and played in three Super Bowls (XXI, XXII and XXIV) with the team — all of which earned him induction into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame last season. Former teammate Mark Jackson and Mile High Sports host Gil Whiteley spoke with Fletcher about how the game has changed.

Thanks to today’s aggressive defenses and pass-happy offenses, Miller receives far more opportunities to sack the quarterback. Fletcher noted that, but even he wouldn’t deny Miller’s almost-preternatural ability to rush the passer. “The game is easier, but even with the same rules that I played; I still think that with his athletic ability and his attitude about playing football, Von Miller would eventually become the number one sack leader in Denver history.”

Fletcher went on to illustrated how a pass-rusher can define a defense on any given day, and that it can be hard to turn up the volume after a slow start. “I won’t say [Miller had] a let-down [against the Giants], but… go back to Super Bowl 50 — the first defensive series — he set the tone; not only for the defense, but for the offense and the special teams as well [with] his dominating play early in the game. It makes a difference.”

Mecklenburg and Fletcher — the Broncos’ top two sackers in team history — were teammates from 1985 through 1994; a full decade of creating nightmares for quarterbacks as a one-two punch. Fletcher knows that Miller could benefit from a tag-team partner like he did. “I have nothing but respect for Shane [Ray] and [Shaquil] Barrett’s good. I was impressed by Shane when DeMarcus Ware was injured two years ago. I thought he came in and stepped up to where there was no let-down. It actually looked like the defense played better at that point with Shane in the game — and I do believe that [Ray’s return from a wrist injury] is going to take pressure off Von; to have another edge rusher on the other side, so [opponents] can’t double and chip him so much.”

Ray is expected to return for the Oct. 30 game in Kansas City; a divisional clash with potentially enormous implications for the playoff race. By then, Miller may be looking up at only Fletcher — and Fletcher will be watching him with the same thrill that Broncos fans do on Sundays.

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