The Broncos have been extremely careful with Von Miller this preseason, limiting the All-Pro outside linebacker to just a few defensive series in Denver’s 20-17 Preseason Week 3 victory over Green Bay. With Shaquil Barrett (hip) and Shane Ray (wrist) still recovering from injury, not to mention a series of injuries on the interior defensive line the Broncos can ill-afford to lose their most important player.

Miller, for his part, took full advantage of the limited reps he saw in Saturday’s win. After running back Ty Montgomery ripped off a 25-yard run to the side opposite Miller to open Green Bay’s second offensive possession, Miller wasn’t about to let the Packers find the end zone. On third-and-seven from the Denver 23-yard line later in the drive, Miller came from the outside in with a spin move to sack Aaron Rodgers for an 11-yard loss.

“I just came out here to work. I was down for whatever. I’ve been ready to go,” Miller said postgame. “VJ (Head Coach Vance Joseph) told me I was going to play, so I got ready to go like it was a real game. I started the game like it was a real game. You know you’re not going to play much anyway, so to get a sack on those few plays is great.”

That was the final play of Miller’s night, having proved that his speed and timing are still on point even though he hasn’t been on the field much in these preseason games. That timing is critical for Miller, who this year is gunning for a massive sack total. That’s the double-edged sword for Joseph and defensive coordinator Joe Woods.

They want to keep their most valuable player healthy through preseason games that don’t count in the standings, but Miller wants to develop the timing necessary to helm maximize his effectiveness on the field.

“You need timing,” Miller said. “I need timing with [Domata] Peko to get some great rushes in with him. I need to get rushes with  Zach [Kerr] and Shelby [Harris] and those guys. I’ve got a lot of chemistry with [Derek Wolfe] and [Jared] Crick.”

Harris, who joined Denver on a futures contract in January, has been particularly impressive this preseason. He registered a pair of turnovers last week against San Francisco and then three sacks on Saturday against the Packers. With a thinning defensive line, which saw Kerr go down with a knee injury against Green Bay, Harris may have very well locked up a roster spot with his performance.

“He’s been great. Shelby’s definitely going to help us, especially at a spot where we’re light. It’s refreshing to get some great play out of him,” Miller said.

It also means one more player that Miller has to develop that timing and chemistry with. Only seeing limited game reps can slow that progression. And while Miller understands he needs to stay healthy entering the regular season in order to best help his team, he says he can’t play with worry that he might get hurt.

“You can’t play the game like that. It’s a dangerous sport,” Miller said. “You’re going to get hurt, that’s just part of it. You can’t ever go into a game thinking like that. You’ve got to be fearless. It can always happen, but this is a game I love to play. If I get an injury, it would be unfortunate, but I’m doing something that I love to do.”

With only one preseason game remaining, this Thursday, Miller will have to wait until the regular season opener on Sept. 11. The risk-reward imbalance in that final preseason game is simply too great. So, Miller will bide his time to do what he loves – sacking quarterbacks and changing games.