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Von Miller still making major impact on defense as he waits for sacks to come

_ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —_As the Broncos enter Week 11, Von Miller finds himself in an unfamiliar position.

The seven-time Pro Bowler, who has racked up five consecutive seasons with at least 10 sacks, sits at 47th among the season’s sack leaders.

It’s a stark contrast from Miller’s normal positioning, as he’s challenged those at the top of the leaderboard over the past several seasons.

For comparison’s sake: While Miller ranks 47th this season, he needs just one sack to pass Jim Jeffcoat for 29th place on the all-time sacks list.

And since 2011, Miller’s 102 sacks still lead all players in that time frame.

Miller, though, isn’t concerned with his four-sack total.

“Honestly, I haven’t even really been thinking about it,” Miller said Thursday. “I know we still have … seven games left and two [sacks] and three [sacks] can get you right back in it. We’ve seen it with [Cardinals OLB] Chandler Jones this year, a four-sack game, the [two]-sack game he had after that and then boom, [he was] tied with the league lead. You can never just get discouraged. I know I’m rushing the passer good. I know I’m playing the run good. I know my game is where it is. I just have to keep playing.”

Miller has experience with those breakout games. In 2016, Miller recorded 10 sacks — and six of them came in two games.

While the numbers aren’t on pace with his normal production, Head Coach Vic Fangio sees the value in Miller’s play.

“Von’s gotten a lot of attention from the opposing offenses in the games,” Fangio said. “I think he’s had two of [the sacks] taken away through penalties. You look around the league [Bears OLB] Khalil Mack’s sacks are down this year. [Rams DT] Aaron Donald’s are down. It just happens sometimes. He’s gathering a lot of attention from other teams, but overall he’s still playing good.”

Miller’s quarterback pressures — he ranks fifth in the category according to Pro Football Focus — can be nearly as helpful as sacks.

“Absolutely,” Fangio said, “especially on third down if the next play they punt.”

Miller, though, made it clear that game-changing plays — whether via sacks, forced fumbles or other means — are the ultimate goal.

“Sacks are the things that you want, and turnovers and forced fumbles right after that,” Miller said. “I just try to play my game. … I don’t really put as much thought into sacks. I go in there and try to be the best player I possibly can. I try to take on double-teams, beat double-teams, play the run, anticipate snap count and that will lead to sacks. That’s what has been great for me in the past.”

His 102 sacks make that a difficult point to argue, and he’ll look to make his case stronger this weekend in Minnesota.

Miller has posted breakout games before. Could this be the next?

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