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Broncos notes: Von Miller vows to play great against Cleveland

Pass rusher made similar claim in similar circumstances three years ago. He backed it up then. He can do so again against Browns' little known offensive tackles.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Von Miller is nothing if not shrewd.

When he puts himself at risk to be humbled, he does it when the deck is stacked in his favor.

For the Broncos’ upcoming game Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, Miller all but guaranteed he would deliver a great individual performance. Check that. He did guarantee he would deliver a winning performance.

“I’ve got to play well in this game – I will play well in this game,’’ Miller said Tuesday. “It’s going to be a good game for me. I don’t want to guarantee a win for my teammates but I guarantee – I don’t want to put pressure on those guys. I want to put the pressure on me. I’m going to have a great game. I’m going to go out there and play well, get a couple sacks and if I can do that then we will win.

“If you look at this season in the first three games, I had a couple (4) sacks and we won those games. These last three games I didn’t do as much (half sack). If I can play well and I can get sacks and I can find a way to disrupt the game, we’ll win.

“The pressure is on me to play well. I will play well. I don’t know who the tackle is that I’m going against, but I’m a going to kill him. (Laughs). I’m going to kill him and the other guy on the other side and I’m going to play extremely well and make plays for my team and, yeah, I’m going to set us up to win this game for sure.”

A key to Miller’s proclamation is when he said he doesn’t who the offensive tackle he will play against. The Browns’ two starting tackles, Jedrick Wills Jr. on the left and Jack Conklin, who would normally play across Miller on the right, both missed the previous game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Blake Hance, a right guard by trade, played left tackle and James Hudson III played right tackle. 

Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield was not only sacked 5 times in a 37-14 loss, he suffered a dislocated left shoulder that puts his playing status in question for the game Thursday against the Broncos. Wills and Conklin have yet to practice this week so it may be Hance and Hudson again as the unknown edge blockers.

Miller made a similar boast under similar circumstances three years ago. Again it was a Thursday night game during the third week of October. Again, the Broncos were going in with a losing streak – four in a row in 2018 and three straight now. Again, the opponent was reeling as the Arizona Cardinals were 1-5 going into the game while the Browns have lost two straight.

"I wouldn’t say it’s a must win but we’re going to kick their ass, though," Miller said at his Tuesday press conference October 16, 2018 at Broncos' headquarters. "Make sure you put that out there. We’re going to kick their ass."

The Broncos beat the Cardinals, 45-10, on Thursday night. Miller had two sacks.

In 2021, Miller had 4.0 sacks through the Broncos’ first three games, all wins, but had just half a sack in game 4 against Baltimore; none in the previous two games against Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. The Broncos are 3-3.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Linebacker shuffle

The Broncos promoted two inside linebackers – Curtis Robinson and Barrington Wade – from their practice squad to their active 53-man roster Tuesday. They replace linebackers Alexander Johnson (torn pectoral muscle) and Andre Mintze (hamstring) who went on injured reserve.

The Broncos also released veteran slot receiver David Moore. Signed off the Raiders’ practice squad three weeks ago, Moore played briefly in two games but didn’t have a catch. He was further made expendable last week when the Broncos signed veteran receiver John Brown.

The Broncos also signed linebacker Pita Taumoepenu to their practice squad and he may be elevated to play Thursday against the Browns. Taumoepenu, Brown and receiver Tyrie Cleveland were placed on the Broncos’ protected list this week.

RELATED: Alexander Johnson suffers season-ending pectoral injury

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