Can Von Miller, a 32-year-old outside linebacker, an edge rusher who has been integral in two super bowl victories, get the Buffalo Bills over the hump and make their fans forget the 13-second humiliation?
Hope has never been higher despite the humiliating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 playoffs and no Super Bowl appearance since their four-year run ended in 1994. The Bills remain in a legitimate Super Bowl window.
Their players are all in – fans too. All “Bills Mafia,” but they want to know how they’ll get past Bills-Slayer, Patrick Mahomes.
Can Miller help erase the worst memory in Bills’ lore? Super Bowl XXVI and Thurman Thomas losing his helmet? No, that’s not it? O. J. Simpson’s longest career run on the 405 freeway. Whoa, calm down, people. Okay, we all know what it is: Super Bowl XXV and “wide right,” Scott Norwood.
- It’s also worth noting, the fault also lies partially with the holder, current Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich. Reich failed to position the laces properly, ensuring a missed kick. That’s not something you hear him talk about very often, is it?
Back to Miller. If he helps bring a Super Bowl win to Buffalo, the nightmare’s end, and he could become the greatest Bills’ yet.
- Terms: Six years (2022-2028) for $120 million
- Signing Bonus: $18.535 million
- Average Salary $20 million
- Guaranteed at signing: $45 million
- Total Guaranteed: $51.435 million
It would be remiss of us to ignore the fact that this is Miller’s second $100-plus million contract. It signifies greatness. As an exceptional player, he’s also managed to carry that pedigree into a second contract. Although he won’t make it to the end of the contract, he’ll likely earn $50 million or more.
VON MILLER: A WINNER WITH ATTITUDE
While offensive skill positions are always the glamour positions, edge rushers help bring championships by destroying the most glamourous position of them all, the quarterback.
- Miller’s job is simple – to end Mahomes and the Chiefs’ dominance over this Bills team.
The best way to showcase how Miller can do that? Showcase his resume:
- 2 Super Bowls (LVI and 50), including Super Bowl 50 MVP
- 8 Pro Bowls
- 3 First-Team All-Pro
- 4 Second Team All-Pro
- 2012 Butkus Award
- 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- 115.5 sacks rank him 22nd on the all-time list
Von Miller has a career per season average of 12.3 sacks, and the past three seasons (four years) have seen him average 11.1 sacks per season. The value he brings to the table is undeniable.
While playing for two teams last year, in 15 games (missed two) he still racked up 9.5 sacks. Good for No. 19 on the 2021 sack list, and keep in mind that 419 players recorded a sack or partial sack. He’s dominant.
VON MILLER PLENTY IN THE TANK?
Yet, there are some questions, and they’re legitimate. The fact he’s averaged only 9.5 sacks per game the past two seasons is legit, considering he’s 32 years old. The Bills’ defensive line is solid and will get better with an entire offseason to gel with Miller. Assuming he’s lost minimal speed, he’s likely to surpass 9.5 sacks.
However, his presence is much more than just being an edge rusher:
- as a focal point on defense, his play will lift the play of those around him.
- his play will also create one-on-one battles, freeing teammates.
That’s a big difference Miller brings others don’t. Let’s not forget he’s also a leader with not only God-gifted talent but the rings to highlight, impress, and make others strive for the same.
VON MILLER: A LEADER AND MENTOR
Despite some reports the Miller signing is a doubling-down on a Bills’ strength, let me remind you: Mahomes covered 44-yards in two plays and 10 seconds to humiliate them. This is now the stuff of legends and arguably, the greatest comeback in NFL history!
- This caused Leslie Frazier to be passed over for a head coaching gig. His interviews failed.
- Head coach Sean McDermott? Just another “boy genius” exposed when crunch time comes.
BILL’S NO. 1 DEFENSE IS IN NAME ONLY
The Bills so-called No. 1 vaunted “D” isn’t so vaunted and gave up the following points:
- 21 – Washington Redskins led by QB Taylor Heinicke.
- 34 – Tennessee Titans
- 41 – Indianapolis Colts
- 33 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 21 – New England Patriots with rookie QB Mac Jones
- 42 – Kansas City Chiefs (playoffs and the 13-second debacle)
To call this a No. 1 defense is a bit of an embarrassment when you look back at history and some genuinely vaunted defenses that won Super Bowls.
- Ray Lewis led the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.
- The 1985 Chicago Bears 46 defense, built by Buddy Ryan.
- Architect Bud Carson propelled the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowls with the “Steel Curtain” of the 1970s.
The No. 1 vaunted Bills’ defense has much room for improvement when compared to championship defenses.
The goal is simple and obvious: with better edge rushing and a stronger locker room, management expects this team not to lose focus as they have in the past. They don’t want to see a meltdown once the playoffs begin. There are reasons to believe that this defense can improve.
- Leaders can work wonders in any locker room, and Miller has the rings and resume to lead veterans as well.
During the “Showtime” era, Pat Riley led the Los Angeles Lakers. With Bill Parcells, the Giants enjoyed glory days again. They would sometimes flaunt their rings to remind their current teams what they were aiming for – championships! Miller’s rings earn that respect too.
- Although unproven leaders may get accolades and public respect, that’s not always the case in the locker room. Consider Baker Mayfield and Carson Wentz. It harms a locker room dynamic.
VON MILLER: MENTOR TO YOUTH
Von Miller has two rings to go with his resume of statistical accolades, but he’ll use talent to be a mentor to the young defensive line. The Bills line is young, sporting 2021 first and second-round picks in Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. Then there’s 2020 A.J. Espenesa to round out a solid core of youth returning.
In 2021, 34-year-old Mario Addison led the team with seven sacks, leading them to a No. 11 rank in league sacks. That ranking has a lot to do with lower-tier teams:
- Miami Dolphins, six sacks.
- Carolina Panthers, four sacks.
- Atlanta Falcons, five sacks.
- New York Jets, nine, I repeat, nine sacks.
They may have had the No. 1 defense but playing against soft teams helps pad numbers. There’s good news too, not just Miller’s signing. The team just signed DT Tim Settle, and many believe he has talent despite being depth on an impressive Washington Commanders’ defensive line. At only 24, he’ll learn much from Miller.
The Pass Rush Summit
Let’s not forget Miller runs his ” Pass Rush Summit,” where he and other elite players attend. Teaching is in his blood. While Miller’s receiving a massive contract, he’s earning it, on and off the field. You can’t ask for more from any player.
IDP FANTASY FOOTBALL: DON’T BE THAT GUY!
Von Miller is not what you would call an IDP “stud!” His job is to harass the quarterback. IDP’s meat and potatoes are tackles. He’s not even top 200 with tackles. So, when the league’s IDP newbie shouts his name on draft day, you can chuckle because he’s the fool who hasn’t done his homework! Don’t be that guy!
The Bills signed Von Miller because their Super Bowl window is still open. It also appeases fans who will never forget head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s 13-second humiliation.
The 32-year-old outside linebacker, an edge-rushing specialist, has been integral in two super bowls, and his signing is for two reasons only. A playoff run, no, a Super Bowl run, and to get this team past Mahomes and the Chiefs! Von Miller, they believe, can do that.