Von Miller Returns to Denver Broncos After 6-Game Suspension
Miller was suspended by the NFL for the first six games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Miller arrives in time to help Denver prepare for the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts. Even more importantly, Miller will be on the field when Denver squares off against Kansas City, which will likely be undefeated on November 17th.
Since his suspension, Miller has been in Stage 3 of the league's substance abuse policy and will remain there for the rest of his career.
This means he has no room for error. With another transgression, Miller would run the risk of a yearlong suspension.
The Broncos rank first in the league in run defense, but last in the pass defense. Although the rankings are skewed by Denver's high-powered offense and massive leads in the fourth quarter, there are problems in the Broncos defense, which were highlighted during Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon exposed Denver's defense, demonstrating that the Broncos have plenty of room to improve on pass defense. Jacksonville, the league's worst offense, put up almost 400 yards from scrimmage.
The return of Miller and Champ Bailey should help Denver's situation.
According to Team Rankings, Denver's sack percentage is 22nd in the league. Miller, who has recorded 30 sacks in 31 career games, should upgrade the team in that regard. He is arguably the second-best pass-rusher in the NFL behind Houston's J.J. Watt.
Miller has done his best to remain in shape to speed his eventual return.
"I still move like a wildcat," Miller told Mike Klis of The Denver Post. "I'm still quick. I'm still going to cover guys. I'm in the best shape of my life. Emotionally I'm in a very good place.
During his weekly press conference on Monday, head coach John Fox discussed Miller's value (via Gray Caldwell of DenverBroncos.com).
This game is about matchups.
Defensively, he’s a dynamic rusher. He’s one of the better ones in this league; I think most people would agree to. Obviously we’re real excited to get him back. We’ll see what kind of football fitness he is in come Wednesday. But he creates a tough one-on-one matchup for most offenses.
In NFL Network's Around the League podcast previewing the AFC West, the Broncos were predicted as having little trouble winning the division crown if they managed a .500 record during Miller's absence.
If Denver's offense can keep up its pace, Miller's return should go smoothly, allowing him time to readjust to game speed.
The bigger question is whether Miller's return improves Denver's historically slim chances for an unlikely undefeated season.
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