Against the Denver Broncos, Von Miller gets first taste of facing a former team – Buffalo News

Buffalo Bills player Von Miller plays with his son Valor after Day 10 of training camp.
If Von Miller finds it weird to go full circle, he’ll quickly find out. In a stretch of 20 days, the Buffalo Bills will face both of Miller’s former teams.
It starts Saturday, when the Bills take on the Denver Broncos in the second game of the preseason. The last time the two teams faced in the preseason was Miller’s rookie year. The pass rusher was drafted No. 2 overall by the Broncos and spent 10.5 years there. His time in Denver shaped him and brought him his first Super Bowl ring. But he doesn’t aim to be overly reflective Saturday at Highmark Stadium.
“I’ve always been a fan of just not making it bigger than what it is, just taking it one play at a time and just doing what I do and really just compartmentalizing my emotions that I might have that may take away from what I’m trying to do on the football field,” Miller told The Buffalo News.

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“Emotions can be good, but emotions can be bad at the same time, and I just try to suppress everything and just go out there and play my game.”
It’s one thing to plan for, another to put into practice. Miller has never faced a former team.
Any emotions Saturday likely will be quite diluted. It is not a regular-season game. It is not clear how much Miller will play. It’s already a notably different roster from when he was traded from Denver midseason last year.
But it can offer Miller some slight taste of what’s to come when he faces his most recent team in the season opener in Los Angeles. There, on a primetime stage ahead of a meaningful game, and where the Rams will be recognized for the Super Bowl win Miller helped attain, will come the real test. While he’s made clear his fondness for his chapters with both teams, he’s also ready to go against them with the Bills.
“If you play this game long enough, you’re gonna have games like this where you’re playing an old team,” Miller said, “So I just continue to do my thing.”
Coach Sean McDermott said Thursday that most Bills starters will get “a healthy amount” of playing time, though he only specifically listed quarterback Josh Allen as starting.
Whatever Miller’s day looks like, he doesn’t need to face his old franchise to remind him what the Bills could accomplish this year. Still, any trip down memory lane can serve as a reminder for exactly why the Bills brought him here.
Miller’s dominant performance in Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos earned him MVP honors – he’s the last defensive player to do so, and one of just three defensive nods in the last 20 years.
Asked if one play in the 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers was most significant to him, Miller had a few that immediately jump to mind, the natural candidates. His two strip sacks, one in the first quarter, one in the fourth, both led to Broncos touchdowns. But he instead describes a play where he was left hungry for more.
“I think one play for me is when Cam (Newton) scrambled,” Miller said, “And I was just like following him.”
Miller said he almost stripped the ball after chasing the Panthers quarterback.
“That just showed me that if you really want to do something – because I haven’t always been like a run to the ball type guy, but that showed me when you want something bad enough, you could do it,” Miller said.
“You rush the passer and then chase the quarterback down, and Cam’s a fast, big quarterback, so that was a play that stands out for me. Of course, the sacks and the PBU and the plays in coverage and tackles for loss and all this stuff – those are all good. But the play that stands out maybe is (playing down the field) where I was able to almost get a strip out.”
The sacks and Miller’s penchant for pass rushing are well documented. Even if the pass breakup he mentioned was perhaps overshadowed, it was still significant. Miller just considers it another aspect of his job.
“I’ve always been a coverage guy; I always feel like to win Defensive Player of the Year, you’ve got to get interceptions, you’ve got to score touchdowns, you’ve got to force fumbles,” he said. “So, I’ve always been a huge (proponent) of being in coverage.”
It, of course, won’t be his primary duty in Buffalo’s defense, but instead illustrates the laundry list of ways he betters a team. Miller’s athleticism is absurd, and his willingness to do whatever he needs to help a team is clear.
“I like showing my versatility,” he said.
So in the third quarter of the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory, he did just that.
The Panthers faced second-and-11 on the Denver 26-yard line. Carolina trailed by just six points and had marched into Denver territory. With 11:07 left in the third quarter, Newton saw wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery run a wheel route down the right sideline, but Miller was in coverage.

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Miller earned a bit of praise in the moment for looking more like a defensive back, but he didn’t feel he was quite as in step as he wanted to be in the seconds ahead of the pass break up.
“Honestly, I felt like I was trailing,” Miller said. “I felt like I was too patient at the beginning of the play. And I had to really play catch up and really turn on the jets and watch his eyes. … (Cotchery) tracked the ball in the air, and I just saw his eyes get ready to catch it, and right when I saw his hands go up, I just broke it up.”
A catch would have put the Panthers inside the five-yard line. Instead, the Panthers failed to convert on third-and-11, Newton’s throw to tight end Greg Olsen incomplete. The next play, kicker Graham Gano’s 44-yard attempt was no good.
The pass breakup helped prevent a lead change when the Panthers were rolling. Still, it was Miller’s second strip sack in the fourth quarter that more firmly put Carolina’s dreams out of reach. Four plays later, the Broncos took a 14-point lead with just 3:13 left in the game.
The play again showcases a mindset that he’s not only bringing to Buffalo, but that he’s imprinting on the Bills’ young defensive ends: focus more on the ball than the quarterback. The sacks will still come.
“The game was close,” Miller said. “So, if we weren’t able to get those turnovers, we would have had a different game. So, I’ve always been a fan of when I see the quarterback, I’m not trying to get the big hit. I’m trying to get the ball every single time.”
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The Bills won their 10th consecutive preseason game with a 42-15 victory against the Denver Broncos on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.
Buffalo Bills player Von Miller plays with his son Valor after Day 10 of training camp.
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