After a Super Bowl MVP and a hard-fought new contract, Von Miller has continued wrecking NFL offenses at a torrid pace. It would seem nothing can slow down the mercurial Miller, who leads the NFL with 7 1/2 sacks in only six games this season—which means he’s on pace for what would be a career high of 20.
Miller, from the set of a new video he shot with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, recently caught up with SI.com to discuss the Broncos’ success at quarterback this season, playing under his new contract and more.
Rohan Nadkarni: Doesn’t eating all that beef jerky kind of wreck your breath after a while?
Von Miller: I play football around a bunch of uglies. Bad breath and musty armpits is like the last of my worries when I’m at work.
RN: I covered almost every single game Trevor Siemian played at college, and I was pretty surprised when he was drafted. What was your honest reaction when he was named starter?
VM: I was away from the whole quarterback situation during the summer. But through my information from the team, I heard it was a really, really close battle. I know with Coach Kubiak and Mr. Elway that we’re going to play the best players we have.
When I got back to Denver, I could see something special in Trevor. Trevor went out there and he just looked great every single time. Last year, if you had told us Peyton Manning is going to retire and Trevor is going to be the starter and he’s going to come out in the first four games and play unbelievable, there’s not too many people in the world—except Trevor and his family—who would ride with that. It’s been a really, really pleasant surprise to see Trevor doing the type of things that he’s done.
He has this type of aura about him. All the greats have it. Peyton Manning, he had it. I think Trevor, from him being around Peyton for so long, it’s kind of eerie how he really resembles how Peyton handled himself in the locker room and on the football field.
RN: How surprised are you at the success Trevor had so early?
VM: When you step back and look at it, it’s crazy for him to come back and have this type of success. But when you look at our organization, it’s something similar to every single year. For the Denver Broncos, every year somebody steps up or somebody makes big plays. It’s something that’s special here in Denver that allows guys to come in and be successful. Whatever the spirit is, it’s definitely rubbing off on Trevor and all the guys we have here. Will Parks, our rookie safety, he’s having a great year so far. You got Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett, and all these guys are coming in—really out of nowhere—and having lots of success. It really shows the type of organization, coaching and locker room we have here in Denver.
RN: How big of a relief was it to finally step on the field after signing your new contract?
VM: All the anxiety, for me, I really for relief after the Super Bowl. I knew that I had done everything I could possibly do to put myself in a great situation as far as it goes for my contract. It was tough when you get down to the personal aspects of it, but at the end of the day I was going to be O.K. with whatever because I felt like I had put in all the work. It really has made things simple for me, I don’t have to focus on anything these days besides football. My previous years it had always been something—what if you get hurt, this and that. I put five quality years in the locker room trying to gain the respect of my teammates. Going into this sixth year, everyone in this organization knows me, everyone knows what I’m about, everyone knows exactly what type of energy I bring to the locker room. It’s really simple for me now. I don’t have to worry about injury or anything like that.
RN: Who do you guys consider your biggest competition in the AFC?
VM: If we can just go out there as a team and do what the Denver Broncos have been doing, we’ll be O.K. with whatever happens at the end of the season. When you look at the AFC, there’s so many talented football teams. You have the Patriots, the Steelers, all of these teams who have been playing at a high level. You’ll have all these other teams who at the end of the year will start to pick up and come out of nowhere and become powerhouse teams at the end of the year. What’s best for us is to focus on what we’ve been doing and focus on the Denver Broncos, that’s the easiest way to success for us right now.
RN: Is there anything specific you guys need to do to bounce back from a couple losses?
VM: It’s the National Football League. It’s a competitive league. You’re going to lose games. It’s how you bounce back from it that defines the type of team that you are. We have a great locker room and we know how to rally together for a common goal.