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Notebook: Miller Encouraged

Posted Jul 30, 2012

After the morning practice on day five of training camp, linebacker Von Miller said he feels great, wide receiver Brandon Stokley talked about catching passes from Peyton Manning and running back Knowshon Moreno discussed getting back to full speed.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller has seen more contact in the past three days than he did throughout the entire months of May and June.

On Saturday morning, the Broncos practiced in full pads for the first time this season. As far as Miller is concerned, so far, so good.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Miller said. “All my muscles are feeling pretty good. We’re eating pretty good here at the Broncos facility. It’s pretty nice. I think stretching and doing all that stuff (during the offseason) really paid off. I haven’t had to spend all those long hours in the cold tub yet.”

Miller said before camp that his goal entering this season was to become smarter and less susceptible to mental breakdowns. He’s not there yet, but he believes on his way.

“I’m getting better every day,” Miller said. “Cutting down on some mental mistakes, but still messing up. I had a big play yesterday and I had a big play today. I just can’t make mistakes like that. I’m going to try to cut all those down hopefully by the time we have our first preseason game.”

Though he has already completed one season playing at a Pro-Bowl level, Miller’s youth is something he shares with fellow linebackers like rookie Danny Trevathan and fellow second-year man Nate Irving

“We're all in diapers together,” Miller said of continuing to learn the professional game.

The youngsters at the linebacker positions are surrounded by a cast of veterans in the secondary and on the defensive line. Miller said he has been encouraged by what he has seen from the defense as a whole.

“It’s pretty cool,” Miller said. “We got (cornerback) Drayton Florence in there too. (Cornerback) Chris Harris and (defensive tackle) Ty Warren (are) back in there. When you’re at the linebacker position, it’s pretty refreshing when you see a big guy like that up front clogging the hole. You’ve got (cornerback) Champ (Bailey), and he’s going to have the No. 1 receiver. Me and Doom (defensive end Elvis Dumervil), we just need to get there. It helps my confidence when I look around and I see all those guys."

"When you look around and see all the elements we added this year, it’s pretty refreshing.”

MORENO GAINING STRENGTH

Running back Knowshon Moreno enters his fourth season in Denver hoping to enjoy the health he did during his first two seasons, when he led the Broncos in rushing in 2009 and 2010. A knee injury limited Moreno to just two starts a season ago, but he said that while he’s not yet fully recovered, he’s moving in the right direction.

“(It’s) definitely moving forward,” Moreno said. “(I’m) not where I want to be yet, but every day is a big stepping stone. Getting there with the team, doing the little drills that we do, every day is getting better.”

Head Coach John Fox described Moreno's health as "day-to-day," and said part of the recovery is mental, especially with an injury the severity of Moreno's.

"(Rehabbing) an ACL is no easy task for anybody, so we’ll be smart and he’ll be smart, and we’re counting on him to contribute," Fox said. "It’s our medical people, our position coaches, and the remainder is myself. Nobody knows their body like themselves, so we do rely on his input as well.”

One area of Moreno’s game that hasn’t been impacted by his knee injury is his ability to catch the football.

“I feel like I can catch the ball really well out of the backfield or even line up as a wide receiver and do some things,” said Moreno, who caught a number of passes from quarterback Peyton Manning on Monday. “I hope so and only time will tell.”

STOKLEY ENJOYING REUNION

While third-year wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have attracted much of the spotlight throughout training camp, veteran Brandon Stokley has been happy to do what he has been doing since he entered the league in 1999—attacking the middle of the defense as a slot receiver.

Stokley said that catching passes from Manning, who hooked up with Stokley for 15 touchdowns while the two were teammates in Indianapolis from 2003 to 2006, has made this training camp all the more enjoyable.

“The last few weeks, he looks like he did six years ago to me,” Stokley said. “If you had told me (that I would be reunited with Manning) — it’s crazy. You just never know. That’s the NFL. You never know.”

As Stokley enters his 14th season in the league, he said the Broncos fans that have packed Dove Valley throughout training camp have given his veteran legs a welcome energy boost.

“We've got the best fans in the league,” Stokley said. “It’s so much fun to come out to training camp, but training camp’s tough. When you’ve got great fans like that cheering you on every time you make a good play, it kind of lifts your spirits. It helps you get through that long, long day.”

“You have 3,500-plus (fans) every practice, it doesn’t get better than that.”

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