Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller will make his 2013 debut this week after serving a six-game suspension to start the year.
The Broncos are already the best team in the NFL by a wide margin, and they’re about to get a lot better.
How much better?
Check out this concise analysis of Miller’s 2012 season from Pro Football Focus’, a statistics-centric NFL site:
“As phenomenal as [Peyton] Manning played last season, Von Miller’s performance was arguably better. In 2012, Miller led all 4-3 outside linebackers with a cumulative PFF rating of +84.4. To put that in perspective, the second rated 4-3 OLB was Jerod Mayo at +17.1. No position in the league had a greater disparity between the top ranked player and the second best.”
Von Miller was the best outside linebacker by a wider margin than Adrian Peterson was the best running back, Calvin Johnson was the best wide receiver, and Peyton Manning was the best quarterback.
That’s … scary.
Pro Football Focus ranked Miller as the 4th-best player in the entire league at the end of last year. They also had him as the league’s best edge rusher.
Miller isn’t just an elite talent, he directly addresses Denver’s big weakness through the first six weeks: rushing the passer.
The Broncos defence is ranked 8th in the league against the run, but 27th against the pass. The lack of a pass rush is a big reason why.
They’re 21st in the league in sack rate. They only have one player in the top 50 in hurries. They’re sacking opposing QBs fewer than three times per game despite the fact that they get thrown on more than any team in the NFL except the Eagles.
Denver has one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen, but the defence has been average as best. Miller is the best player in the entire league as his position, and his presence is going to go a long way toward fixing those defensive issues.