What is going through the mind of Von Miller the instant before he hits the quarterback? Is it silent, a serene prophetic state? Or would it be chaos, all this pent up anger and emotion unleashed?
The answer is neither; it’s just basic football instincts.
“I’m just thinking ‘Get him down by any means necessary’, within the rules of course,” said Miller rationally on the Dan Patrick Show. “That split second is where you miss a quarterback or you lose the quarterback, they’ll spin out. If you close your eyes you could miss them or miss the sack completely.”
Miller’s eyes are apparently wide open, while his ears are pinned back.
His 18.5 sacks, a Broncos record, 6 forced fumbles and 68 tackles make him one of the most feared defenders in the league. His childlike exuberance and enthusiasm, including his post-sack celebrations make him one of the most entertaining.
He is a part group of youthful, yet uncalibrated assembly of talented defenders which includes Houston’s JJ Watt and San Francisco’s Aldon Smith. Unfortunately there is a group, on the other side of the ball, just as youthful and equally as tactful when it comes to a new-age NFL game.
“Nobody wants to play a [49ers quarterback] Colin Kaepernick or a [Seahawks quarterback] Russell Wilson. Some of those guys that just aren’t going to take the sack, it’s already hard enough to get a pass rush on great quarterbacks because they do so many protection [reads], stepping up and stepping to the left, or the right,” admitted Miller on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday. “You want to go against a guy that’s going to stay in the pocket and take the sack. If you are going against Russell Wilson you know it’s going to be a long day chasing the guy around.”
But when it does work out, the quarterback is safely on the turf, there is no better feeling.
“There are not too many things to celebrate about on defense, so getting a big-time sack in a big-time situation feels like a defensive touchdown to me,” Miller said.
Miller’s prowess may be growing but his destination, the quarterback, has always been the same. Just try to stop him.