Von Miller switches tactics, buttering up Chiefs
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — No promises from Von Miller to kick butt this week. Just some buttering up instead.
And a lightening up of the mood prior to addressing the Halloween party he hosted that became the talk of the town over some curious costumes and backup quarterback Chad Kelly’s trespassing arrest following the annual team-bonding get-together.
Denver’s star linebacker praised the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) on Thursday in stark contrast to his proclamation last week about the Broncos (3-4) kicking some behinds in Arizona.
Although the fired-up Broncos backed up Miller’s smack talk with a 45-10 rout of the Cardinals, Miller wasn’t about to issue a similar warning ahead of the game this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I would love to come out here and make a prediction like I did last week, but you can’t kid yourself, the Chiefs, they have a great football team,” Miller said. “They’re great all the way around. Defense. Coaching. Quarterback. Offense. They’re great all the way around. It’s definitely going to take our best effort, our best game, to win this one.
“And I definitely think we can do it,” Miller added. “I have faith in all my brothers and our coaches. It’s going to be a fight like it was last week. And the same energy we had last week we’ve got to carry it over this week and if we can do that, I know we’ll be all right.”
Miller knew he’d also be asked about the Western-themed Halloween party he hosted Monday night . So, as he stepped up to the outdoor riser for his weekly news conference, Miller “accidentally” tripped in front of all the cameras and cellphones to lighten the mood.
“Oh, did you all get that on film?” Miller asked as he picked himself up, chuckling.
Some of Miller’s teammates were shown on social media depicting drug-addicted characters and entertainers at Miller’s annual Halloween party on Monday night. And backup quarterback Chad Kelly was kicked off the team Wednesday following his post-party arrest on suspicion of criminal trespassing.
“Nobody likes bringing people together more than me. I enjoy spending time with my teammates whether it’s dinner on Friday nights or meetings at my house or dinner with your wives on Thursday. Or Halloween parties. I like to bring people together,” Miller said.
“It was a private event. It was safe. I had team security there. I had my own private security there,” Miller added, noting that members of the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, the Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings were in attendance along with Broncos players and their significant others.
“It was a private Halloween party. And it was a safe event and of course we got the news about Chad,” Miller said. “I care about Chad as a person. The party was separate from his issues. I love the guy. I wish the best for him.”
The Broncos filled Kelly’s roster spot by promoting speedy receiver/returner Isaiah McKenzie from their practice squad and signing former Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson to their practice squad.
Despite his comedic timing and well wishes for Kelly, Miller stuck to the Broncos’ theme about focusing solely on the Chiefs, who beat them 27-23 a month ago in Denver when the slippery Patrick Mahomes kept side-stepping Denver’s pass rush to lead Kansas City to a fourth-quarter comeback.
“You would think after you scrambled around a lot and then you came back to the line that you wouldn’t have that same energy,” Miller said. “But he’s just like all the great scramblers, just like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, he’s able to do it time after time You would think the magic wears off but he just keeps going harder and harder. So, hats off to those guys.
“But the Broncos, we’re going to be ready to go on Sunday.”
That was as close to a promise as Miller would make.
Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb have combined for 8½ sacks over the last two games, giving the Broncos confidence they’ll be able to disrupt Mahomes, who’s only been sacked eight times all season.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said he’s paying extra attention to hydration this week so he doesn’t have to leave the game for IVs like he did in the fourth quarter last month, a big factor in Mahomes throwing for 153 yards over his final two drives after being held to 151 through 3½ quarters.
“I’m the one running after the guy,” Miller said. “So, if Chris feels like that, you can only imagine what the (pass) rushers feel like.”