Von Miller has made himself one of the ultimate pass rushers in the league as a rookie. He’s third in the NFL in sacks with 11 takedowns on the season. The guy one spot above Miller is none other than 8-year veteran Jared Allen, who the Broncos will face this week in Minnesota.
Allen has 14 sacks on the season. In six of his eight years in the NFL, he’s had at least 10 sacks. His best year came in ’07-’08 when he was with the Chiefs and had 15.5 sacks. Needless to say, Allen knows a thing or two about how to take quarterbacks down.
Allen was asked what he thought about Miller in a conference call with the Denver media.
“That 3-4 hybrid linebacker position fits him well I think,” Allen said. “He’s athletic enough to get around just about anybody. He’s having a heck of a year.”
Allen had 9 sacks in his rookie year, and warns that getting to the quarterbacks as a rookie may be a little bit easier than for someone who has been in the league for a few years.
“As a rookie, you kind of have it the easiest because there’s not a whole lot of film on you, so people don’t really know what to expect,” Allen said. “You have to continue to evolve, you have to continue to learn how to break down your opponents, and learn how to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.”
That’s not to say that Miller’s performance will decline as his career goes on. In Allen’s second season, he had 11 sacks and forced 7 fumbles.
“For me it was a constant evaluation of what my strengths were, what my weaknesses were and try to hone in on that,” Allen said.
Allen’s strength was clearly getting to the quarterback early on in his career, but as he developed as a player, he learned that other things were just important. He had 25 pass deflections in the three years after his rookie season (he had 0 during his rookie year), and he has 25 forced fumbles since his inaugural year.
“It’s all mindset,” Allen said. “A lot of it has to do with how the flow of the game goes. If you can get up on a team by a couple of scores, that takes away some of the blocking scheme stuff that they can do to shut you down.”
There’s a distinct difference in size between Allen and Miller. Allen stands 6’6″, 270 lbs. and plays defensive end. Miller is 6’3″, 237 lbs. and lines up at linebacker.
When Miller played the Chiefs in his former idol’s stadium (Derrick Thomas), he had 7 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Let’s hope that Miller looks up to Allen a bit and has more to prove on Sunday.