When Von Miller first joined the Broncos following the 2011 NFL Draft, he said he wanted to play Robin to Elvis Dumervil’s Batman.
The Broncos’ outside pass rushers took down their share of bad guys last year in the form of opposing quarterbacks, combining for 21 sacks on the season.
Despite tying for third in the AFC with 11.5 quarterback takedowns in 2011, Miller knows he has plenty of room to improve going into his sophomore season.
“I’m not a rookie anymore,” Miller said. “I want to start to play like a vet. I just want to be in the spots that my teammates expect me to be in for crunch-time situations.”
One vet he hopes to emulate would be his quarterback-fighting partner, Dumervil.
Their solid off-the-field relationship has translated into havoc in the opposing backfield.
“I know Von on and off the field,” Dumervil said. “He’s a tremendous player and a tremendous person. He’s like a younger brother to me.”
While they both have the same goals in mind – doing whatever they can to help the Broncos earn a win – it doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive when it comes to getting to the quarterback first.
It was a close race several times in 2011 as the pair split sacks in three consecutive games in Denver’s wins at Oakland, at Kansas City and vs. the New York Jets.
“We spend a lot of time together and with his competitive nature and my competitive nature, it really makes us both better,” Miller said.
“We’re very competitive in everything we do—cards or whatever,” Dumervil added. “He comes by the house and we’re close.”
Neither one hesitates to point out something that the other can improve on. That’s a new thing for both players, who until last season were always the clear-cut top pass rusher on their defense.
“I surely don’t like when he’s getting on me and correcting me and doing stuff, but in turn, I’m going to do the same thing,” Miller said. “I don’t think he’s ever had that and I’ve never had a guy that’s going to come in and tell me what I’m doing wrong. You can’t really get upset when Elvis is telling me I’m doing something wrong. In turn, I know he’s going to do it to me, so I do it to him. It’s definitely a brotherhood and something that I’ve never had before. I’m looking forward to seeing where it’ll go.”
Since they get along so well off the field, it makes it easier for one to approach the other with some advice.
“That’s the thing about it—we’re both humble people, so we have respect for each other, but at the same time, we’re going to push one another,” Dumervil said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
With the two feeding off one another’s success, opposing quarterbacks ought to beware what the Broncos’ superhero pass rushers have in store for 2012.
But according to Dumervil, it’s the entire defense that opponents should worry about, not just the two outside pass rushers.
“As far as nicknames, we still understand we need the players on our defense and that it’s not all about us,” Dumervil said. “We just do whatever we have to as a team to try to get better.”