He was excused from Thursday's practice, leaving
"Today was a good practice on the possibility that he may not be here," said quarterback
Miller plans to appeal a suspension that would keep him out for the first four games of the season. He is expected to play Saturday in Seattle, and saw action early in the Aug. 8 preseason opener in San Francisco.
When the Broncos relieved most of their defensive starters early in the 10-6 win over the 49ers, they offered a first glimpse of their alignment without Miller, with Irving at strong-side linebacker and Phillips at defensive end. The two also saw a few snaps together and collaborated for the game's only touchdown, a Phillips fumble return set up when Irving stripped D.J. Harper of the football.
"I guess the only difference is Von's pass-rush abilities versus anybody's. He's always superior to pretty much anybody in the league," said cornerback
During practice, Phillips has shown glimpses of the explosion from the edge that he displayed in his nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
"He's a proven player in this league. He's hungry," Bailey said. "This guy's as good a pro as I've been around. He's definitely dialed in and ready to go. So I'm not worried about it."
But all the shuffling and situational substitution between Phillips and Irving can't adequately replicate Miller, who ranked ninth on the NFL Network's Top 100 list in a vote taken of players late last season.
"Well, when you lose a guy of that caliber, you're going to notice a difference," Bailey said. "He's just that effective on our defense."