Von Miller’s reported suspension to start the 2013 NFL season has been widely documented and followed since the story broke heading into training camp. With Miller attempting to do everything in his power to appeal the suspension under the NFL’s Substance Policy to as few of games as possible, it appears that Miller isn’t going to get his away according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
Von Miller’s suspension for violation of the league’s substance policy is expected to be at least six games, per sources.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 19, 2013
Miller would miss games against the Ravens, Giants, Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys and Jaguars if the reports are true and the suspension length holds under appeal of the second stage of the NFL’s Substance Policy.
The understanding is that Miller’s recent arrest has nothing to do with the extension of the suspension from four to six games, but rather that Miller’s suspension is being reduced from eight games downwards meaning that Miller is in the second stage of the NFL’s drug program. With going from stage one of the program to stage two, Miller is one step away from a Ricky Williams like situation should he fail a third test.
If Von advances from Stage 2 to 3 (after 2 violations, it seems to have happened): 10 tests per month, 1 more violation means banishment
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 19, 2013
Miller was the first cornerstone of the Broncos under the guidance of Denver legend John Elway and registered thirty sacks over his first two NFL seasons, building a deadly pass rush alongside fellow outside pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. With Dumervil gone to the Baltimore Ravens and the Broncos already missing the pop in their pass rush this preseason, losing Miller for two extra games that the player didn’t anticipate is a huge letdown.
How much it will affect the team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl remains to be seen as Miller stands to play over half of the 2013 season and most importantly all of the games that actually end up mattering in the grand scheme of things as he would play all of the second half of the season and the playoffs. Losing out in the AFC Divisional Playoffs after being the number one seed, the Broncos know too well that it isn’t about how you play in Week 1-6, it is about how you finish.
But how will not having Von for six games affect how the Broncos finish in 2013? Denver goes up against three “name” quarterbacks in Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, and Tony Romo in those six aforementioned games, all guys you want to have a good pass rush against that play on teams that could beat the Broncos. A lightened arsenal of defensive talent will only further the load that is being placed on a not getting any younger Peyton Manning to guide the Broncos to wins when they come up against tough opposition. Something that one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time is more than capable of, but Broncos fans would want him to be able to save for the end of the season with something left in the tank.
With or without Miller for the first six games of the season the Broncos are likely going to win the AFC West and contend for a bye week as they did in 2012 while doing so thanks largely in part to being a cut above their divisional opponents (sadly) and having Peyton Manning calling the plays and running their offense. We saw in Indianapolis time and time again that Manning gave your team a 95% chance at a division title and with all apologies to Kansas City Chiefs fans, there isn’t a team in the division that has an elite quarterback or as deep of a team as Denver so don’t expect too much of a drop off.
What we are going to see is obviously weaker defense, but the fact that the team has been aware of Miller’s impending early season unavailability will have given them more than enough time to work around the loss of Miller. Losing Dumervil exasperates the situation and things are looking bleak after a poor preseason performance against the Seattle Seahawks where they lost 40-10, Denver’s defense should be significantly better once Week One rolls around.
Von Miller looks to be gone from the NFL for nearly half of the regular season in 2013, one step away from the being the Ricky Williams of defensive ends. For now it doesn’t seems like his drug use will cause the implosion of the Denver Broncos hope of contending for a title, but if he doesn’t clean up his act soon, the next time his name is in the suspension rounds it will be for an entire season shutdown.