In two days, the Broncos will report for training camp, and it’s bad enough that because they live in 2001 when faxing stuff was still a thing, they’ll be doing it without Elvis Dumervil. Now, they’ll likely be starting their season without Von Miller too.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Miller is facing a four-game suspension (and thus the possibility of being absent for a quarter of the season) for violating “NFL policy“. Such vague language is both curious and typical at an early stage, and we can only hope Miller didn’t violate the little known league locker room flatulence policy which dictates that the wind breaker has to be stationary, and he’s not permitted to spread his human gas around the entire room before fleeing. Drive-bys are both the worst, and against man code.
The details of the suspension will surely surface soon (most likely, almost definitely a violation of drug policy). And while there will be an appeal Richard Sherman style, for now let’s assume the worst because that’s more fun, and assess a world in which the Broncos’ defense plays without Miller for four games while Dumervil makes his debut in Baltimore. The end of days indeed.
I’m not sure there’s an accurate adjective to describe this situation, but “crushing” seems appropriate. Perhaps utterly crushing.
Last year, the Broncos were rather scary with their 52 sacks, which tied for the league lead. But of course, the fright came from the outside speed-rushing tandem of Miller and Dumervil, with Miller’s 18.5 sacks and Dumervil’s 11 combining for 54 percent of the team’s overall sack total.
Sit and process that for a second. A team with a defense predicated on pressure has now possibly and likely lost over half of its pass-rushing muscle for a quarter of the season, and now the aging Shaun Phillips is left as the primary replacement. John Abraham is the opposite of young too, but he’s still effective with his 10 sacks last year. If Miller’s suspension holds, maybe the Broncos will now be motivated to aggressively pursue the former Falcon, after passing on Dwight Freeney.
Or maybe there will be more shoulder shrugging with the knowledge that in a weak division, the possibility of a poor start can easily be overcome. And they might not be wrong, though the idea of Champ Bailey and his slowing legs being overexposed due to a weak pass rush is far from inviting, especially when we look at the Broncos’ early schedule. This is also the part when the fantasy impact of Miller’s banning becomes pretty delicious.
Denver opens with the Thursday night kickoff game against the defending champion Ravens, and when Bailey tried to keep up with Torrey Smith during the playoffs last January (even with Miller, you know, playing), the result was catches of 32 and 59 yards, the latter of which was Smith’s longest reception of the season.
Next up is the Giants, when Eli Manning will have more time to put a ball into the waiting hands of slot receiver Victor Cruz after he takes a pleasant Sunday jog. The Raiders in Week 3 are meh, but then in Week 4 Denver draws the Eagles, and Chip Kelly’s fast-paced circus show with an abundance of speed between DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the outside, both of whom will have the required time to explore the deeper areas of their surroundings.
It all adds up to a lot of awesome for the owners of the main fantasy figures on the offenses in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, and on the other side of the ball in Denver, there could/should be shootouts, and therefore potentially fun fantasy numbers for those who own Peyton Manning or anyone in his posse.
A lot of wonderful things are actually happening here then, with our only condolences going out to Miller’s IDP keeper league owners who were looking forward to watching him hurt many more quarterbacks. Please remain on the lower levels of buildings for the rest of the day.
UPDATE 1:32 p.m. ET: This…
According to NFL source, #Broncos LB Von Miller tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana during his rookie season of 2011.
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 22, 2013
Initial reports (specially, Schefter’s) were vague, and said that Miller only violated an “NFL policy”. Although it was assumed that we’re dealing with a drug infraction here, exactly what kind of misdeed Miller is being accused of wasn’t clear. Also under question was whether or not Miller would be suspended under the substance-abuse policy, which requires multiple infractions for a four-game ban, or the PED policy, where only one positive test is required.
With Klis’ report, it appears the latter policy is in play here, and unless his appeal is successful, Miller will sit four games as a punishment for his amphetamine usage. That’s the primary ingredient in Adderall.