ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Blue skies above Broncos practice belied a tempest brewing over the potential suspension of linebacker Von Miller, with multiple reports that he could be lost to the Broncos for the first six games of the regular season.
But the reports didn't catch the Broncos off-guard.
"I wouldn't say shocked. It is what it is," linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "We've got to take care of our business and Von has to take care of his business, on and off the field. We've got to continue to be good teammates and support him. Whether it's four games, no games, or six games -- we're going to still be there for him."
Head Coach John Fox cautioned against jumping the gun to react to the reports.
"We are aware of reports and sometimes it's erroneous because I think we'd probably find out before other people," he said.
"I mean, to be honest with you, we're not really worrying about that," added safety Rahim Moore. "It's going to be what it's going to be. The only thing that we can control is everything that happens on the field."
It was on the west practice field where they went through a typical two-hour, no-pads practice. But with reports swirling about Miller's status and three projected first-team defenders absent because of injuries -- Champ Bailey, Derek Wolfe and Stewart Bradley -- it was hard to overlook the potential of the Broncos fielding a defense in Week 1 that could lack much of its starpower and perhaps an equal amount of firepower.
Both Wolfe and Bailey were described as "day-to-day" by Fox, and with 17 days until the season opener, that offers some breathing room. But a defense without Bailey and Miller is a dicey prospect; the two Pro Bowlers are "irreplaceable," Moore said.
"We hate to say that it's 'next man up' for those two guys because they are our best players on our team," Moore said. "But at the end of the day, other guys are going to have to step up."
Moore is one. Woodyard, who was the only player in the league with at least 100 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions last year, is another, and knows he might draw more attention in the next few weeks.
"If more teams try to scheme around me, all I can do is do my job: make the plays inside the scheme of the defense," he said. "If somebody is doubling on me, it means that somebody else is free to make a play."
And now and in the future, Miller will find a supportive team.
"It's always frustrating whenever somebody gets a suspension. We're still teammates," Woodyard said. "Everybody makes mistakes. We're not going to turn our backs on him. I won't even say he made a mistake. We don't know what the judgment will be so we're going to continue to be there for him and support him. He's our brother and we're going to be there until the end."
Added Moore: "Who am I to judge Von or what he's going through?
"I have some problems I have to work on, too, and there are some things on the field I need to work on."