Miller's presence vital to Broncos pass rush

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Since sacks became official in '82, Von Miller is one of four players with 30 sacks in his first two seasons.Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been suspended for the first six games of the 2013 NFL season.

The immediate impact of Miller’s absence will be felt on Denver’s ability to rush the quarterback. The two-time Pro Bowler has accounted for almost one-third of the Broncos’ sacks over the past two seasons (30 of 92).

And, since they became an official statistic in 1982, Miller is one of only four players with at least 30 sacks in his first two seasons.

Miller does more than just sack the quarterback. His 28 tackles for loss (which does not include sacks) ranks second in the NFL since the start of 2011, and his eight forced fumbles are tied for fourth.

Broncos' 2012 Defense
With Von Miller

It’s no surprise that the Broncos' defense last season was much more effective when Miller was on the field (as noted in the chart on the right).

Miller’s absence impacts the Broncos' pass rush even more, especially when you consider that the Broncos were forced to release three-time Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil in March after his renegotiated contract wasn’t submitted to the league office in time.

Since being drafted by the Broncos in 2006, Dumervil is fourth in sacks per game at 0.70 (minimum 50 games).

And, over the past two seasons, the Broncos recorded a sack on 8 percent of opponents’ drop-backs when both Miller and Dumervil were on the field. That percent dropped to 6.9 with one of them on the field and 3.4 percent with neither on the field.