Aug 24, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) signs autographs before the preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at Sports Authority Field . Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - With the return of key players in the past two weeks, the Denver Broncos' defense is starting to look like, well, a defense.
Linebacker Von Miller has practiced the past two days, and Champ Bailey returned to full speed last week before his season debut in the Broncos' 35-19 win Sunday against Jacksonville.
"(Miller) spent a lot of time with our strength and conditioning people, so strength-wise he's in outstanding shape," coach John Fox said Thursday. "Obviously he's fresh, as this is his opening game of the season. Everybody has little bumps and bruises they deal with, but so far so good. I've liked what I've seen."
Bailey didn't want to divulge any secrets. But he did say the defensive strategy will change a bit with Miller, who was suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
"He does give us many more options to do different things on defense," Bailey said. "But you know, when you have a guy that talented, you've got to find ways to make sure he's involved with every play. So he's going to be involved a lot."
Having Miller and Bailey back, plus the return of linemen Shaun Phillips (hamstring) and Sylvester Williams (neck), means the Broncos are a step closer to lower some of the defensive stats.
The Broncos are best in the league against the run (69.8 yards per game) but the NFL's worst against the pass (337.7 per game). They rank 29th in overall defense, allowing 407.5 yards per game.
Robert Ayers (shoulder) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck) again practiced, but on a limited basis. Their status for Sunday night's game at Indianapolis remains in question.
"It's good to have everybody back working," defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "It's obviously nice to have Von back. We got Champ back last week, Robert and 'Woody' have been able to join us in practice so it's good."
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