A year ago, dozens of the NFL's best pass rushers descended on Las Vegas for an opportunity to learn from their peers.
At that iteration of Von Miller's Pass Rush Summit — the third year that the Broncos' star pass rusher hosted the event — Miller, Aaron Donald, Calais Campbell and Co. spent time on UNLV's practice field demonstrating moves before heading inside the team's facilities for a film session.
But just as COVID-19 prevented NFL teams from gathering for in-person offseason training, Miller's fourth-annual Pass Rush Summit was pushed online in 2020.
Yet while Zoom boxes and screen-sharing replaced on-field drills, Miller's seminar for the game's best remained impactful. Hundreds of pass rushers — across high school, college and the NFL — logged on Friday to hear from a panel that included Miller, Campbell, Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones, Myles Garrett, Arik Armstead, Shaquil Barrett and D.J. Reader.
Broncos rushers Jurrell Casey and Bradley Chubb both joined the two-hour summit, which was hosted by NFL Network's Nate Burleson.
"I'd be scared as hell if I was a quarterback and saw y'all running after me," Burleson said on the call.
Read on for some highlights from the summit, which will help raise funds for Miller's Von Sacks COVID initiative. Miller has pledged 580,000 meals to kids in need that have been impacted by the novel coronavirus.
- At one moment on the call, Armstead, Jones, Miller, Barrett, Reader, Campbell, Garrett, Mack, Cameron Jordan, DeForest Buckner and Chubb were all featured on the screen. Those 11 players have a combined 569.5 career sacks. Rookies Isaiah Simmons and A.J. Epenesawere also featured on the screen, and they figure to add to that total soon. Joey Bosa (40.0 career sacks) joined the call later.
- The summit began with several players sharing their favorite pass rushers to watch when they were younger. Former Broncos rusher DeMarcus Ware was mentioned on more than one occasion. Miller, Garrett and Jones all listed Ware as a favorite of theirs.
- Jones is on a blistering pace, as the two-time first-team All-Pro has posted 96 career sacks in eight years after recording a career-high 19 sacks in 2019. Campbell said both Jones and Miller (106 sacks through nine seasons) have the chance to reach Bruce Smith's all-time sack record of 200.
- Chuck Smith, a former All-Pro pass rusher, has joined Miller's Pass Rush Summit in past years to help coach the host of talented players. He joined again this year to run the film-review portion of the summit. "I've been studying pass rush for the last 40 years," Smith said. "This is the best group of pass rushers the league has ever seen." Smith may have also had the best line of the day, as he ended the film session with a word of advice: "Live every day like it's third-and-8. Keep hunting."
- In perhaps the most enlightening portion of Miller's comments, he explained his weekly film-study process. "I've learned a lot from working with DeMarcus," Miller said. "He can watch five minutes of film and can already tell you how he's going to beat the offensive lineman." He spends most of his time watching the right tackle, but he also observes the rest of the line, the quarterback and team formations to find weaknesses, tendencies or opportunities he can exploit. "You might get 60 plays. They may throw the ball 35 or 40 times. You may get 10 clean rushes. You've got to be able to change the game in those 10 rushes. … You've got to get there whenever you get your opportunity."
- During the film review, Miller broke down his game-sealing strip sack of Andrew Luck in 2016 and a sack of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. "I always try to anticipate the snap count," Miller said. "I like to go with the ball, not after the ball." Though Miller's calling card is his speed and agility, he used a power rush to get to Carr. "My power rush is always off of speed," Miller said. "It's all about get-off [speed]. I want to make first contact. I want to surprise him."