ENGLEWOOD • It’s Von Miller’s world.
The Broncos are just rotating around it.
Hire a coach who specializes in pass rushers ... check. Keep the band together even when Super Bowl 50 is old news ... done that. Unwrap a $500,000 Lamborghini Aventador for his 30th birthday ...
“My dream car,” Vonnie Football said.
Yep, it’s good being Von.
Can Von make the Broncos good again?
Like the Nuggets with Nikola Jokic and the Rockies with Nolan Arenado, the Broncos consider how it impacts Miller on every decision they make. From hiring a strength and conditioning coach who is BFF with Von, Loren Landow, to bending to his contract demands after the Super Bowl 50 season, the apple of John Elway’s eye wears a cowboy hat and, for reasons unknown, carries around a laser pointer.
On the road back to relevancy, the Broncos need Miller at the wheel. Hard to believe, but the 2019 season is Von’s ninth in the NFL. Time flies when you’re having fun. No one has more than Von. Now it’s time for the best Bronco to turn in his best year yet. All-Pro. All-World. All of it.
“I’ve said it three times before this (one for each coaching change): I feel like I’m a coach’s dream. Whatever you ask me to do, I’m going to do it,” Miller said Tuesday at UCHealth Training Center. “Whoever’s coaching me — whether that’s the position coach or the head coach — I try to make their job easier. Try to take me out of the equation. I’m going to always do what I’m supposed to do.”
The Broncos are 0 for 3 in playoff appearances since they made Miller the face of the franchise with a team-record $114 million contract soon after he was named Super Bowl MVP.
But if the greatest defensive player in franchise history is telling the truth, there’s still time to make that contract worth it. For the first time in a long time, Miller spent the offseason living and training on the south side of Denver, minus a private jet or three. And his chiseled physique looks like something cut from a Marvel comic.
Miller is striving to play at 245 pounds, a jump from the 236 where he had 14.5 sacks last season. (“I need that 10 pounds,” he said.) Through his various social media platforms we know Miller hasn’t been averse to hitting the gym, even at times when bars are closing.
“My whole mindset was not to miss a day,” he said. “So whether it’s 2 a.m. or 8 a.m. I have to get the workout in.”
Miller is destined to park a bust in Canton, alongside Pat Bowlen and Champ Bailey. The Broncos parked his locker right next to Joe Flacco’s. Just me, or is it tough to see Flacco cruising down Colorado Boulevard in the Lamborghini gifted to Miller by his family?
”He (Flacco) is the same guy that we thought he was going to be,” Miller said. “He’s taller than what he looks like on the field. He’s like 6-5 or something like that. That’s always good.”
Beats the shortchanging of fans last season at Mile High. This offseason has been addition by subtraction. The unceremonious exit of Vance Joseph was a move toward maturity. Clipping linebackers Brandon Marshall and Shane Ray immediately strengthened the locker room. (Marshall managed a one-year deal with only $495,000 in guarantees in Oakland, according to 9News’ Mike Klis. Meantime, it’s April and Ray has yet to find a team that thinks he’s worth his hefty asking price. Contrary to popular belief, both dragged the Broncos down.) They jettisoned Case Keenum in favor of Flacco.
But the entire orange-and-blue operation still revolves around Von Miller. With that in mind, the birthday boy shared his thoughts on ...
• Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who opted to skip the optional workouts that began Tuesday as he holds out for a contract extension: “It’s voluntary, right? This is an optional period to be here. ... We’re talking about ‘Strap Harris.’ He can be on Mars and he’s going to be ‘Strap Harris.’ ... When it’s time to go, he’s going to be ready to go.”
• Vic Fangio, the new coach in town: “He’s all about technique, assignment, intensity and effort. I like that. He’s an outside linebacker guru, and he’s up next with me.”
• His first season as a 30-something: “Whenever you see a pass rusher just play third down or pass-rush situations then it starts to go downhill. I’m still playing every down. I’ve still got a long way to go. When I start playing (only) third downs, then OK.”
• The Lamborghini: “It was good to get that for my birthday.”
Vroom, vroom. The ‘19 Broncos need the fastest, smoothest, quickest, strongest Von yet.
(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at email@example.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)