Von is coming into this season as both the de facto leader of the defense, and very well could be considered the leader of the whole team. His press conference leading into training camp gives us an idea on what is to come this year, and years to come.
This off season, Von Miller put together a camp just for pass rushers, an idea formulated when talking to a former coach of Von’s, Rick Smith. He had wanted to do this last off-season, with Atlanta Falcon Vic Beasley, but Von didn’t have the time to get it done. According to Von, “I reached out to Vic last year and I didn’t have time to do anything last year. This year, I had a lot time on my hands. I reached out to Vic and told Vic to come to San Francisco. He told me to come to San Francisco to train and go over some stuff.” It was when Beasley discussed it with Atlanta media that the term Pass Rush Summit was born. “Summit? What (laughing)? I started thinking about it, but I might as well just take advantage of the opportunity to do this. I did it all in three weeks. I feel blessed and honored to have those type of guys come out on such short notice”. The Summit was attended by players from many different teams, including Khalil Mack, Olivier Vernon, Malik Jackson, Shane Ray, Beasley of course, Cassius Marsh and Cliff Avril, first-round selection of the 49ers Solomon Thomas…and even DeMarcus Ware made it out to the facilities of Stanford University to participate.
Von is set to make this new Pass Rush Summit an annual event, something that he attributes to the leadership qualities put forth by Peyton Manning in hosting his own annual event. Said Von, “Peyton’s passing academy and what Peyton was doing at Duke was really some of my inspiration behind everything. Peyton set such a huge example on how to do stuff there, so that definitely was the blueprint.” And on if Von was at all concerned about how QBs, including even his teammates on the Broncos, “It’s a fraternity, you know? It’s a fraternity like quarterbacks. I don’t ask Trevor why are you talking to these other quarterbacks. I think it was all love, though. At the end of the day it’s going to make our game better. It’s bigger than just my teammates and my Denver Broncos here. It’s a thing that can help improve the league.” I believe Von Miller has officially arrived as a champion and ambassador for the NFL.
Another indication of Von’s leadership comes from how he’s taken rookie and fellow teammate Garett Bolles under his wing and his plan on teaching by leading. “I’m an open book. I don’t believe in holding back and not telling him, I tell him everything I know and I tell him everything that DeMarcus has told me, everything that Shaun Phillips and Elvis Dumervil have taught me. Everything that Ryan Clady and all of these guys have taught me, I tell him. That’s how the National Football League should go.” Not only have Von and Garett assumed a mentor/student relationship, they’ve become quick friends, based on their personalities and senses of humor. “It just happened and he’s only been here for a couple of months so I’m excited about this season and the years that we have coming up.”
“Sometimes, when you’ve got these huge, big time figures like Peyton and DeMarcus and approaching them like that they could maybe feel a certain way. But with me, I’m approachable. I feel like everybody, even the rookies, DeMarcus Walker and all of these guys can come talk to me and I feel like I can do the same thing with them when it comes to leadership.”
If nothing else this off-season, Von Miller has taken the mantle of leader and just ran with it. He’s developing the skills needed to win in the locker room as well as on the field. Plus he has honed his skills as a pass rusher and destroyer of QBs in his Pass Rusher Summit even more than before. His claims of wanting to make this his best season yet should have opponents shaking in fear. Go Broncos, and Gig ‘Em Von Miller.
See the full presser below.