ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos enter Week 11, Von Miller finds himself in an unfamiliar position.
The seven-time Pro Bowler, who has racked up five consecutive seasons with at least 10 sacks, sits at 47th among the season’s sack leaders.
It’s a stark contrast from Miller’s normal positioning, as he’s challenged those at the top of the leaderboard over the past several seasons.
For comparison’s sake: While Miller ranks 47th this season, he needs just one sack to pass Jim Jeffcoat for 29th place on the all-time sacks list.
And since 2011, Miller’s 102 sacks still lead all players in that time frame.
Miller, though, isn’t concerned with his four-sack total.
“Honestly, I haven’t even really been thinking about it,” Miller said Thursday. “I know we still have … seven games left and two [sacks] and three [sacks] can get you right back in it. We’ve seen it with [Cardinals OLB] Chandler Jones this year, a four-sack game, the [two]-sack game he had after that and then boom, [he was] tied with the league lead. You can never just get discouraged. I know I’m rushing the passer good. I know I’m playing the run good. I know my game is where it is. I just have to keep playing.”
Miller has experience with those breakout games. In 2016, Miller recorded 10 sacks — and six of them came in two games.
While the numbers aren’t on pace with his normal production, Head Coach Vic Fangio sees the value in Miller’s play.
“Von’s gotten a lot of attention from the opposing offenses in the games,” Fangio said. “I think he’s had two of [the sacks] taken away through penalties. You look around the league [Bears OLB] Khalil Mack’s sacks are down this year. [Rams DT] Aaron Donald’s are down. It just happens sometimes. He’s gathering a lot of attention from other teams, but overall he’s still playing good.”
Miller’s quarterback pressures — he ranks fifth in the category according to Pro Football Focus — can be nearly as helpful as sacks.
“Absolutely,” Fangio said, “especially on third down if the next play they punt.”
Miller, though, made it clear that game-changing plays — whether via sacks, forced fumbles or other means — are the ultimate goal.
“Sacks are the things that you want, and turnovers and forced fumbles right after that,” Miller said. “I just try to play my game. … I don’t really put as much thought into sacks. I go in there and try to be the best player I possibly can. I try to take on double-teams, beat double-teams, play the run, anticipate snap count and that will lead to sacks. That’s what has been great for me in the past.”
His 102 sacks make that a difficult point to argue, and he’ll look to make his case stronger this weekend in Minnesota.
Miller has posted breakout games before. Could this be the next?