ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In a business where workouts that actually work are vocational gold to be cherished, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller said he took away a little something from his spring stint on “Dancing With the Stars" that has helped him pretty much make life miserable on quarterbacks.
And it wasn’t the cardio work, the flexibility, the footwork or any of the moves. No, it was the work, the practice, the need to get better at something.
"I’ve never put six hours into one thing every single day, not even football," Miller said. “We practice for two hours. [Dancing] made me consistent. It made me have to come to work every single day and be consistent and work on something that I wasn’t really good at. When I come out here and play football, this is what I do. I’m a professional football player, so it’s easier for me to do this. I think having to struggle with that is definitely helping me here. I already had agility and flexibility, but the consistent part, coming into work and doing something that I’m not good at and have [dance partner] Witney [Carson] really depend on me to get my job done, that’s the correlation that it has on the football field. I’m not tackling guys on the dance floor. The work that you put in to be a great dancer has a direct correlation to the work that you have to put in to be a great football player."
If that’s the case, then Broncos coach Gary Kubiak might want to send a few more players to Southern California for some offseason work on the dance floor. Because Miller is currently in a dominant stretch of football.
After three sacks against the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday, Miller leads the league with four sacks this season. In the last four games, playoffs included, Miller has nine sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception. Two of the fumbles he forced were recovered for defensive touchdowns.
Miller signed a six-year, $114.5 million contract in July. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib has called him the best defensive player in the league right now “hands down and it ain’t close."
Miller skipped the Broncos’ offseason program because of his contract negotiations and signed his new deal just before training camp opened. The Broncos worked him into camp practices on a graduated scale and he played sparingly in the preseason.
“I’m very impressed with the fact that when a guy is not here throughout the course of an offseason, through contracts, as a coach, you always worry about how they come back," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said on any help dancing may have provided Miller. “Look how Von has come back. I think the fact that we had a short offseason and that was something he was doing, sure as hell had to help him. It couldn’t have hurt him.”
The Broncos have had one player in franchise history win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award: Randy Gradishar in 1978. Miller was asked this week if he continues his current torrid pace, or anything close to it, does he believe he could win the award?
“I have a lot of goals,’’ Miller said. “ ... I just come out and try to be the best Von that I can be. I just work, grind and keep my head down. Whatever happens, happens. If I work and put 100 percent into what I’m doing, whatever happens at the end of the year, I’ll be OK with."