Miller knows sacks come in bunches, and he has confidence in his ability to make plays happen.
During Monday’s game against Los Angeles, it became pretty clear teams aren’t going to let Von Miller beat them.
Facing a Broncos game plan designed to free Miller up, the Chargers did everything possible to keep the talented edge rusher away from Philip Rivers.
That meant chips on both sides. That meant double teams. That meant triple teams.
No matter where he lined up, Miller had the offensive line’s undivided attention.
None of that will deter him from trying to find a way to get past these many hurdles on his way to the quarterback.
“I want to be great,” Miller said Wednesday. “I know what my role means to this team, I know what this team means to this city and I know what my impact on all of this is for everyone. Whenever I’m out there on that field, that’s my motivation. Huge leadership role, and I know at any given moment I can make that play.”
Miller understands the unique situation in which he finds himself compared to players at other positions. An offensive lineman gets evaluated on entire body of work, he said. Miller, in his own eyes, is more like a quarterback. He could be silent for most of the game, but a well-timed burst at the end would shape a narrative in a positive fashion.
“[At] quarterback, you can throw three picks and at the end of the game you just catch on fire and he’s the hero,” Miller said. “Offensive linemen have to be solid all game. With me, I can be quiet all game and then boom, two sacks back-to-back. It’s like, ‘Von, ahhh!” and ‘He’s this and that.’ You just have to be consistent, keep going and keep going.”
Miller knows it’s been a while since anyone yelled “Von, ahhh!” at the end of a game. He’s gone five regular-season games without a sack, which is the longest streak of his career. Prior to this drought, Miller had never gone more than three games without a sack.
“I’ve had long streaks where I’ve had a lot of sacks and had multiple games,” Miller said. “It’s just going to come. Elvis Dumervil, when he was here, he always told me ‘You know sacks, they come in bunches.’ You can’t really get down or lose motivation when you’re out there on the field because you have to keep going and keep going because at any given moment I can make that play. It might not be the same with other pass rushers in the league or other defensive ends, but I know the type of confidence that I have in myself, my game and the confidence my teammates and my team have in me.
“I’m just one play away and I just have to keep playing for those plays. They’ll come.”
Von Miller dealt with trying times early on in his career, and understands what sort of things Ezekiel Elliott is going through now.
Miller, the Texas A&M standout who has gone on to star with the Denver Broncos, served a six-game suspension in 2013 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Miller initially ran into issues testing positive multiple times for marijuana and an undisclosed amphetamine early in his rookie season of 2011, and then attempted to cheat a drug test.
Miller unsuccessfully appealed the suspension and ended up serving it. In the three seasons since his suspension, Miller has won a Super Bowl, been to the Pro Bowl every season and been named a first-team All-Pro twice.
What advice would Miller have for Elliott? Elliott is a guy who has been embroiled in controversy since his rookie season after an ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in July 2016.
The NFL and Elliott are currently in a legal battle over the league’s decision to suspend him six games for violating the personal conduct policy.
“You can only control what you can control,” Miller said on a conference call with Cowboys writers. “You just got to string days together. That’s what worked for me when I was going through my tough time.
“String days together. A day will turn into a week, a week will turn into a month, and a month will turn into a year. Over time, time heals all.”
Elliott declined to comment on his legal situation when he spoke with reporters on Wednesday.