Von Miller is back for the Denver Broncos in a big way. Not since the Las Vegas Raiders came to Mile High on January 3, 2021 has the Super Bowl 50 MVP taken the field in an official game.
To say it would be a long time coming would be an understatement. Miller though is back with a vengeance. The Minnesota Vikings, during joint practices, got a taste of what’s coming to the New York Giants on Sunday, September 12.
ALL the latest Broncos news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Broncos newsletter here!
Former Bronco turned NFL analyst Mark Schlereth revealed the reaction of Vikings’ coaches to Miller’s performances against the Minnesota offensive line in the preseason.
Super Bowl Season Von Is Back
“The best thing I can say about Von Miller is he looks like Von Miller,” Schlereth told the Broncos website.
“I talked to some coaches from Minnesota who were like ‘Dude that looks like Von Miller of 2015.’ That’s how good Von Miller looks right now and he was wreaking havoc.”
Miller’s first game since the Raiders victory was a Mile High return against Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams on August 12. “I thought he played well in the preseason game against the Rams, he was good against the run,” Schlereth said.
“I mean he can hold the point, he can be strong, he’s so shifty and he’s like freaking, what was the cartoon on Gumby, dammit? He’s almost like The Matrix where his dip and ability to turn the corner, and his almost gelatinous feel to where you can never really get your hands on him. [It] makes him impossible at times to block.”
Miller’s elusiveness should be even more pronounced against a New York offense line ranked last in all of pro football, according to PFF.
“That should be a great matchup now [for Von]. You look at the Giants, they’ve got Peart out there, they’ve also got the former CU Buff [Nate Solder] and neither of those guys can handle Von Miller. I mean, from what I’ve watched in the preseason games, those guys don’t have a chance to handle Von Miller.”
Miller himself spoke to Denver media on September 9, revealing he’s not exactly 2015 Von or any former iteration of the Broncos’ all-time sack leader.
Follow the Heavy on Broncos Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
New & Improved Miller
“I think it’s a different Von,” Miller said. “I think the way I attacked it, it was some good and bad that came with it.
“Last year, I just kind of put the pedal to the metal and just grinded it. I just used so many different things for fuel last year and I don’t think it was healthy for me. I just grinded — I had two-a-days, I had three-a-days. I really just hit the weight room. If I wasn’t in a weight room, I was on a track and I would go do football drills. I kind of just — I wouldn’t say I wore myself down into the ground, but I kind of put a lot of wear and tear on my body, and when it was time to go for the season, I had a freak, season-ending injury. I just took some of the positive things that I had from last season, like my work ethic and my mindset, and I just applied it to this year.
“I took a step back from grinding so hard and I put more emphasis on rehab, working on little muscles, and just really going back to the drawing board and keeping some of the good stuff that I did last season and just adding some stuff to really sustain my football career. I just kind of mixed up these two seasons.
“It’s a totally different Von. I feel like my conditioning is about the same. I feel like I’m the same size. I’ve seen my picture with my shirt off. I feel like it’s the same Von. I just think it’s a different mindset, and you have to be able to do that each and every year. You just can’t piggyback off the year before. You got to go to the drawing board and really just redo it every single year. That’s what all the greats do.”
Miller has already reserved his place in the Broncos’ pantheon but if he is a new and improved version of his former self, we may see another playoff run toward Denver’s fourth Lombardi Trophy.
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic