As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Miller is facing a four-game ban by the NFL for "violating NFL policy":
Broncos LB Von Miller is facing 4-game suspension for violating NFL policy, per ESPN sources. Case currently in appeals process.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 22, 2013
Speculation has been running rampant about what exactly Miller did wrong, but as the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to keep these matters private, we may never know the reason for this potential suspension.
As noted by Schefter, Miller will have a chance to appeal the suspension in August before the season begins:
NFL targeting mid-August as appeal date for Von Miller's 4-game suspension. Resolution expected before regular season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2013
For his part, Miller has denied any wrongdoing, as noted by Marc Sessler of NFL.com. He told reporters on Wednesday, "I don't think I let my teammates down. Everybody has tough moments." Miller also vehemently denied any notion that he was in trouble for marijuana use, as noted by Sessler.
While Miller is certainly a key player for Denver and one of the most talented defenders in the NFL, the Broncos' 2013 season won't hinge on whether or not he's available in the first four games.
Peyton Manning will be leading an offense that has the potential to significantly outdo last year's performance. With rookie running back Montee Ball behind him, Manning will have a stout running game to go along with an absolutely loaded receiving corps.
The addition of Wes Welker can't be overstated. His ability to make plays underneath will open up the entire offense. Teams will have to pick and choose whom to double-team, as Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are more than capable of making monster plays over the top.
If Miller isn't available to play in the first four games, the team's secondary will be stressed more than usual without his pass-rushing presence. But Manning and his offensive teammates are more than capable of picking up the slack.
If Miller is suspended, how many games will Denver win while he's out?
Whether he plays or not early in the year, the Broncos will be one of the 12 teams vying for a championship in January when the playoffs begin.
Taking a look at the schedule, Denver faces a couple of stiff tests right off the bat, with contests against the Baltimore Ravens (at home) and New York Giants (away) in Week 1 and 2. Even with Miller, the Broncos could conceivably fall to 0-2 to start the season.
At worst, you'd expect Denver to come away from the first four games with a split record of 2-2. Considering that three of the team's first four games are played at home, it isn't crazy to think a 3-1 or 4-0 record is out of the question—with or without Miller.
Championships aren't won in September and October, however.
Even if the Broncos go 1-3 (they won't) to open the season, it's going to help the team's cause that it features the easiest schedule of any team in the NFL this season, based on last year's records.
Will the Broncos be Super Bowl contenders in 2013?
Furthermore, John Fox is a veteran coach who understands how to keep his team focused and playing through any potential distractions, and Manning's leadership is the stuff of legend.
So, while there's no guarantee Miller will even be suspended (he could win his appeal), Denver will be a team to be reckoned with in January, no matter what happens to the star linebacker this fall.
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