The Denver Broncos got off to an impressive 3-1 start to the 2017 season, and looked like a team that could contend with the New England Patriots in the AFC. Since then, however, practically nothing has gone right for the Broncos, and it’s starting to take a toll on their best player, outside linebacker Von Miller.
“I can’t really sit up here and say I’m not frustrated,” Miller said following the Broncos’ 21-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post). “In Year 7, I think it’s … (pause) … it is the losses. It’s just where I am with my career right now. I feel like this is the best shape that I’ve been in. I feel like this is the smartest that I’ve been. I feel like I’m on top of my game in all areas and I just want an opportunity to go out there and prove that. That’s the frustrating part — me being in my prime and me being on top of my game like I’ve never been before and not being able to put it out there for everyone to see. Wasting a prime year on whatever we got — yeah, that’s the frustration.”
It’s easy to understand Miller’s frustrations. The Broncos’ loss to the Raiders on Sunday extended their losing streak to seven games. The last time the franchise had a seven-game losing streak was in 1967.
What’s even more troubling, though, is the way the Broncos are losing. During their winless streak, Denver has lost by double-digits in five of seven games. And when they are consistently playing from behind, opposing offenses have the luxury of focusing on their rushing attack, which in turn, keeps Miller from doing what he does best — rushing the passer.
Miller, a five-time All-Pro and Super Bowl 50 MVP, has still played extremely well in 2017. Through Week 12, he has 8.5 sacks, 40 tackles, and 1 forced fumble.
While he knows that achieving the type of success the Broncos have become accustomed to is now out of the question, Miller hasn’t given up all hope for the 2017 season.
“At the end of the day, we still got another opportunity to go out there and be great,” Miller said. “And I’ve said it weeks before, that’s all I really need, is an opportunity to go out there with my guys and my teammates and just play. Stranger stuff has happened. I just want to get out there and show the type of player I truly am.”