3. Von Miller
Von Miller has been quietly pressuring opposing quarterbacks into bad throws and into the arms of his teammates through four weeks. His sack total sits at only two but his quarterback hurries and hits are up there with the best in the league. The Raiders have only given up five sacks to opposing teams this season and the five linemen up front have played every snap together. Thursday, Miller attributed their early success in the air to Carr’s maturation in season two and commented on what they need to do to slow him down.
“I think their progress has come from Derek [Carr]. He’s a better quarterback than he was last year. You can see it. He’s poised. He makes a lot of quick decisions. He’s not holding the ball for four, five-seconds. He’s starting to become the quarterback that I think that they drafted,” he stated. “It’s going to be our job to take away those quick throws, make them hold the ball a little bit, get a rush, stop the run and just play the same Broncos defense that we’ve been playing.”
Miller will likely be matched up on right tackle Austin Howard for the majority of the game. With DeMarcus Ware playing as good as he is, it will be hard for the Raiders to double-team Miller as much as they have in the past. Miller has some extra motivation Sunday and it is not the fact that he is facing his old coach, Del Rio. Miller is a student of the game and has aspirations to be the best pass rusher in the league. Thursday he commented on the talented players the Raiders have and how much he wants to out perform them.
“I think it’s more special that I’m going against Aldon [Smith] on the other side and [Michael] Crabtree. Me and Crabtree are from Texas and everything. I think it’s more special in that end than going against my old defensive coordinator,” Miller earnestly said. “I think it’s more special that I know these guys now, being able to play against them and stuff.”
The Broncos defense has gotten to every quarterback they have faced and often. They already have 18 sacks through four weeks and getting a pass rush on Carr early could dismantle the Raiders offense. Miller will be in top form and a likely candidate to lead both teams in sacks.