Why Von Miller Deserves as Much Credit as Peyton Manning for Broncos' Success

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IDecember 18, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 11:  Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Peyton Manning will win some sort of individual hardware this season, whether its the NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year or Comeback Player of the Year—Von Miller, most likely, won't win anything. 

But that doesn't mean the second-year pro has been any less valuable to the Denver Broncos in 2012 than the team's legendary quarterback. 

In fact, he deserves just as much credit, notoriety, praise—whatever you want to call it—as Manning. 

Miller has become the league's preeminent 4-3 outside linebacker by a wide margin, and though many believed he was ill-fit to play in that traditional alignment, he has flourished and needs to be accounted for on every down. 

According to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), Miller's pass-rush rating of 51 is the highest in the league, beating out J.J. Watt's 49.1. 

Upon adding sacks, hits and hurries, PFF developed a "total pressures" metric—Miller has 81 on the season, while Watt has 67 and Aldon Smith has 65. 

That puts his pass-rushing prowess into perspective, doesn't it?

While the Broncos' terrorizing edge-rusher makes his most visible impact getting after the quarterback, he has demonstrated improvement against the run compared to his rookie campaign. 

On 300 run snaps this season, Miller has one missed tackle and 8.7 of his 29 run-stopping tackles have been labeled as a "stop" or what PFF refers to as any tackle that "constitutes a loss for the offense."

He ranks as tied for 10th in the league in that category.

While Manning has taken Denver to new heights offensively and record-wise, Miller's influence has been felt for nearly two full seasons now. 

In 2010, according to Football Outsiders, the Broncos allowed the second-most points per drive on defense. 

Last year, they finished 16th. 

Heading into Week 16's contest with the Cleveland Browns, Denver is 7th. 

The defensive roster isn't identical to what is was two years ago, but many of the same pieces are in place. 

Miller's presence is the one noticeable addition that has coincided with the team's vastly improving scoring defense.

So, while the acquisition of Peyton Manning has taken the Denver Broncos from a 8-8 team that lost in the divisional playoffs a season ago to a potential Super Bowl favorite, Von Miller has made an equally significant impression on the franchise's upward swing. 

Does he deserve a few MVP votes? 

Undeniably, yes.