The Denver Broncos dreamed in 2011 that Von Miller, the young man from Texas would blossom into a pass-rushing machine in the NFL after displaying incredible natural skills at Texas A&M University. What they didn’t now is how good he would become.

He has been explosive on the field, self-destructing off the field and suffered a serious injury during his four seasons in the National Football League. Through all of the ups and downs and games missed he has still been one of the league’s best. Now, entering the last season of his rookie contract, it appears to everyone watching this summer that he may be the best version of himself in 2015. Throughout the offseason, into training camp, on the second play of the team’s first preseason game and again Tuesday morning, Miller displayed a knack for obliterating anyone in his path to the quarterback. This may be the year of Von and all his opponents may not stand a chance.

“When he came out, we thought he was the number one guy in the draft. We felt like he would be a great player. They don’t always turn out that way, but he has and I think will continue to be,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said Tuesday.

Miller was a raw talent with the Aggies and received the Dick Butkus award his senior year in 2010 after recording 27.5 sacks in his last 26 starts. The Broncos drafted him second overall in the 2011 NFL Draft with high hopes. Those hopes were certainly warranted as he impressed in his first two seasons with the team.

He followed up his Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl 2011 with an 18.5 sack 2012 season and another Pro Bowl selection. He appeared to be on his way to supper stardom but quickly problems arose. Multiple failed drug tests and then an ACL tear limited his 2013 season to just nine games.

In 2014 he came back to camp at his lighter, stealthier rookie weight and had DeMarcus Ware to help him on the mental side of things, as well as on the other edge of opposing offensive lines. Many were pleased with his 14 sack 2014-15 season but lately he is looking even more dynamic.

“He looks the best I’ve ever seen him. I thought my rookie year he looked unbelievable and last year I thought he looked really good. This year he has taken it to a whole other level,” Derek Wolfe, teammate since 2012, said Tuesday. “I feel sorry any tackle that tries to block him. He’s one of the best pass-rushers I have ever watched even on film, besides Derrick Thomas, that’s who I think he tries to model his game off of. His natural abilities are just unbelievable. The things that he can do, you can’t coach. I don’t think there is a ceiling for him whatsoever. He can be as good as he wants to be.”

Miller has been a spark plug of energy from UCHealth Training Center since camp convened July 31. He is constantly sprinting around the edge of the Broncos offensive line and seems to never tire. As he approaches unrestricted free agency in 2016, more than ever, all eyes will be on him this season. However, it hasn’t changed his approach to his fifth NFL season.

“I feel like I go out there and I can play with the best of them. It’s a lot of talk before the season. Luckily, I have a season coming up and I get to lay it all out there and show everybody the type of Von that I can be. I want it to be about me this season. That’s the way I’m going about it—me and the Broncos. That’s where my mindset is at,” Miller said Monday.

Another big piece to the Broncos’ defense seemed unfazed by his teammate’s progression at camp this summer. Chris Harris Jr., a Pro-Bowler in his own right, expects to see Miller continue to improve as a professional in 2015.

“He is just unblockable. I just see him adding to his game every year and the older you get in your prime you just keep getting better, so he is just improving. He’s going to be unstoppable.”

Miller took his great offseason and training camp into Friday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks and anyone who has watched him this August was not surprised by the second play from scrimmage. Miller simply torched the left tackle of Seahawks off the snap, curled around the outside, and stripped the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hand for the team’s first turnover of the game. That type of play continued at Tuesday’s practice and can only fuel onlookers’ assumptions that the 2015-16 season can be Miller’s best season yet.

Even more encouraging for the Broncos is that the defense around Miller is deeper and more talented than any he has been on since his arrival in Denver. August 7 Miller expressed how he can use the group around him to make this year the year they reach their goals. If his training camp performances are any indication of the future, it is bright for Broncos Country.

“I want to be dominant. I want to be inspiring to my teammates. I want to inspire my teammates to play better and I want to feed off them and I want them to feed off me—just have one of those dream seasons, just like every year.”


The Broncos practiced in helmets and shoulders pads at training camp Tuesday. Emmanuel Sanders (hamstring), Marvin Austin Jr. (groin) and Kenny Anunike (swollen knee) did not participate in practice. Chris Harris Jr. returned to full duty.

The offense struggled throughout the day. Manning was intercepted several times, the offensive line was terrible in pass protection and the receivers had several dropped passes. Brock Osweiler had some nice completions but also had multiple passes tipped at the line.

Defensively, several players had great practices. Miller continued to abuse both Ty Sambrailo and Ryan Harris, as did Ware. Todd Davis had some nice plays in the middle of the second-string defense and Shaqiul Barrett appears to have moved up to the second team after a strong game in Seattle. Aqib Talib added another interception to his stats at training camp.

The team’s practice was capped off with team red zone drills but not before a special teams’ highlight. Connor Barth and Brandon McManus remain locked in a tight competition for the team’s kicker position. After two failed drives by the first and second-string offenses both kickers got big opportunities to shine. First, after “chirping” as Kubiak said, to special teams coach Joe DeCamillis that he could hit the lengthy kick, McManus nailed a 70-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights. Barth then got his shot from 65 yards away and also converted it. Spencer Lanning also had a good day of punting behind veteran Britton Colquitt.

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