ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In 2018, Bradley Chubb recorded more sacks than any other rookie.
His 12 quarterback takedowns set a franchise rookie record, and he was just a few off the all-time NFL mark for a first-year player.
In short, the fifth-overall pick played at the expected level for a top-10 pick.
Von Miller, though, doesn’t expect Chubb to mirror that performance as the NC State product enters his second season.
He expects him to be far, far better.
“He’s a totally different player,” Miller said at Wednesday’s Denver Broncos Kickoff Luncheon. “… He’s going to have the same jersey number on, but he’s going to look totally different. He’s been working on a lot of stuff. I’m excited for him.”
Miller has presented this sentiment before, but he explained Wednesday that he thinks Chubb’s progression is on par with players like Khalil Mack and Vic Beasley.
And whatever Chubb did to take the jump, Miller wants to know.
“I don’t even know what he did,” Miller said. “If I find out what he did, I’m going to start doing it. I think it’s just natural. I think it’s just natural for defensive players to take a huge leap from Year 1 to 2. You saw it with me. I had 11 sacks and I jumped to 18.5 sacks my second year. You saw the same thing with Khalil Mack and Vic Beasley and all of these guys. Same thing with Bradley Chubb. I don’t know if it’s a certain drill or sleep or whatever else, I just think it’s exposure and time. He will definitely be a brand-new player this season.”
If that’s the case, Chubb could be a scary player in Head Coach Vic Fangio’s defense.
FLACCO EXPLAINS LEADERSHIP APPROACH
Joe Flacco has only been Denver’s quarterback since March, but he’s put in the work to be one of the team’s leaders. But, as Flacco knows, leadership is just partially about motivational speeches.
“I’m naturally a guy that’s going to lead by example,” Flacco said. “I’m not going to be the most vocal in terms of the rah-rah type stuff before the game and all that jazz. But I think as a leader, you have to prove from an early point that you can play or you can do whatever … you’re trying to accomplish as a team. In my case, it’s play quarterback. It’s play football. Everybody has to be able to see that the guy that’s leading this team can play and has to believe that when they look at me, ‘Man, we can win a Super Bowl with this guy.’ If you can get people to kind of see that and believe it, well then it can just take off.”
STRIVING FOR 100
In Week 14 of the 2018 season, Miller sacked Baker Mayfield to set the Broncos’ all-time sack record and tally his 98th career regular-season sack. But over the next two weeks, Miller was held without a quarterback takedown. And while Miller is nearly certain to cross the 100-sack mark at some point in 2019, he said it bothered him that he couldn’t get there before he turned 30.
“It kind of hit me in the gut,” Miller said. “I couldn’t get 100 before I was 30.”
Miller, though, has reason to be optimistic. Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, who is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200, also didn’t cross the 100 mark before his 30th birthday.
“[He] always told me, ‘Just go out there and just play. Don’t really worry about any other stuff. Don’t worry about how many years you’re going to play. Just go out there and play,’” Miller said. “And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m taking his advice, trying to stay in the moment — stay in the moment with my teammates, stay in the moment with the fans — and just go out there and play.”