Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips may have struck fear into the hearts of quarterbacks across the NFL.
He told the Denver Post’s Cameron Wolfe that he thinks Von Miller is a better football player and came back more focused this season than he was early in 2015.
Wade Phillips: "Von seems to be better than he was at this time last year… He came back more focused than he was last year."
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) September 5, 2016
He also told Wolfe that Miller’s next step is to win the defensive player of the year award.
It looks like money has not made the Broncos’ All-Pro linebacker complacent. After a contentious contract dispute, the USA Today reported that Denver made Miller the highest paid defensive player in the league. He signed a six-year $114.5 million contract, with nearly $70 million guaranteed, in July.
Miller’s production in his first five seasons almost makes that contract look like a bargain. He has tallied at least 11 sacks in every season except for 2013, when he served a six-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy. Perhaps his greatest achievement came in the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers when he was named the game’s MVP.
He has reaped the rewards this summer, appearing on “Saturday Night Live”, “Dancing with the Stars” and in a commercial for Madden ’17.
That type of activity may distract some players from their main job, but apparently it did the opposite for Miller. If he returned to the Broncos truly hungrier than ever before, then there may not be a more dangerous place this season than standing in the pocket against the Broncos defense.