As rest of game improves, Von Miller still believes sacks will come

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Von Miller has long said that sacks come in bunches.

In the past, when he’s dealt with stretches in which he’s recorded few quarterback takedowns, he’s reminded himself of that fact.

More often than not, they’ve arrived in droves.

Take last season, when Miller went three consecutive games early in the season — all Broncos losses — without a sack. He responded by stringing together a nine-game sack streak, including a performance against the Cardinals during which he posted a pair of sacks and forced fumbles.

This season, the sack-less stretch is a little different. Rarely has Miller failed to string together quarterback takedowns to start the season. Through five games, though, Miller has only two sacks — and both came in a single game. The two-sack start to the year is the lowest output through five games of Miller’s career.

And yet, Miller isn’t concerned.

“I feel good, we got the win,” Miller said. “I’ve said it before, that’s the most important thing. All of that stuff really doesn’t matter if you don’t win. The week before, I had two sacks in a game, we lost the game and I really couldn’t tell the difference. It’s all about winning games and we played a solid game of defense that game. The sacks, I still just believe they’re going to come. We’ve been rushing good and we’ve got great schemes in, so we’ve got to keep playing.”

Head Coach Vic Fangio, whose unit ranks seventh in total defense and 10th in scoring defense, said there are even some aspects of Miller’s game that have improved.

“I think he’s doing a lot of things well for us and some things that are better than maybe he’s done in the past,” Fangio said Wednesday. “Now obviously his sack numbers aren’t what he would like and everybody would like, but he made a very nice play the other day on the third-and-3 where they tried to run it up in there for the first down. He was the main focal point for us winning that down and that was good.”

Fangio has consistently held Miller to a high standard as he tries to take the Super Bowl 50 MVP’s game to another level. That’s exactly what the three-time first-team All-Pro wants from his head coach.

“We all know Coach Fangio right now,” Miller said Thursday. “He’s going to keep it all the way 100. I think as a player, you can appreciate that. … If I’m not doing well, I would want him to tell me. If I can work at something, I would want him to tell me about that. Coach Fangio might tell everybody about it, but he’s going to keep it 100 with me and I can appreciate that.” 

Miller dismissed any sort of notion that he and Fangio don’t get along, saying the idea was “crazy” and that he and the coach “get along great.”

“He wants to see me be great,” Miller said. “He’s going to push me in the right direction and do everything necessary to make sure I’m a better player, and I can appreciate that. Whether that comes off as mean or whatever it is, I’m not really worried about that. I’m worried about being the best football player I can possibly be. I know his mindset is there and that’s exactly what my mindset is as well.”

And as Miller aims to push the defense’s performance to a higher level, he said he wouldn’t want anyone other than Fangio to try to help him get there.

“I think it’s all out of love,” Miller said. “It’s all out of love and I think he want to see me do the best. It might come off to the media as a little bit different than what it really is, but I know inside here, there’s no other coach I’d rather have right now pushing me to be the best outside linebacker I can possibly be.”

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