A couple of years ago, the Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl largely because of their defense. This year, they may need to rely on their offense, as pass-rush extraordinaire Von Miller reportedly suffered a season-ending ankle injury at practice.
“When I read it, I was like, ‘Wow, this one’s a huge blow,’” PFF analyst Solomon Wilcots said on The DA Show. “You and I both know he requires a lot of attention from an opposing offense each and every week. You got to know where Von Miller is. You’ve got to slide your protections, your line, to make sure you can negate what he’s bringing to the table.”
Miller, the second overall pick in 2011, was entering his tenth NFL season. An eight-time Pro Bowler, he was going to form a deadly pass-rushing duo with Bradley Chubb, who missed 12 games last season with a torn ACL.
“Bradley Chubb, who missed most of last season with an injury, he’s been really good,” Wilcots said. “When both guys played together, that defense is elevated. Last year, Chubb was out and everyone sort of talked about Von Miller because he didn’t get the double-digit sacks, and they were wondering could he have that bounce-back year. Clearly he had been working his tail off to make sure he got back to that level. Now he’s going to be missing, and you have to wonder how that’s going to be affecting Bradley Chubb on the other side.”
Miller had 8.0 sacks in 15 games last season. He has played in at least 15 games seven other times in his career; he averaged 13.3 sacks in those seasons.
“They really do need both guys to be the best they can be on defense,” Wilcots said. “So this saddens me because if there was any team that was going to stand up to the bully that is Kansas City in the AFC West, we thought it would be the Denver Broncos.”
The Broncos, who have missed the playoffs four years in a row, open the season at home against Tennessee on Monday Night Football on Sept. 14. Kickoff is slated for 10:10 p.m. ET.