ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Von Miller sacked the notion that he and Vic Fangio have a rocky relationship.
The Super Bowl 50 MVP said Thursday that while they’re not exactly drinking buddies, the two men get along great and he appreciates his head coach’s constructive criticism because he’s just trying to make him a better player.
“There’s not a coach that I’d rather have right now pushing me to be the best outside linebacker I can be,” Miller said.
With just two sacks so far, Miller is off to the slowest start of his nine-year career in Denver as he adjusts to a new coaching staff, new scheme, new teammates, new assignments and the loss of pass rushing partner Bradley Chubb to a season-ending knee injury last month.
Fangio famously declared at his introductory news conference as the Broncos’ 17th head coach that Miller “can play even better,” and his frank assessments continued unabated as Miller posted four sackless games during Denver’s 1-4 start.
The buzz over their relationship flared up again this week when Fangio described Miller’s performance in Denver’s 20-17 win over the Chargers as “kind of uneventful” even though he appeared to pressure Philip Rivers on his two interceptions and stuffed a third-down run.
All of this led to speculation that Miller and Fangio didn’t get along.
“That’s crazy,” Miller said. “Who came up with that?”
It’s all over social media and the airwaves.
“You hear it all the time that me and Vic don’t get along? I would like to think that me and Coach Fangio get along great,” Miller said. “I feel like the type of energy that he sends toward me is different than … all the energy that he sends to everybody else. I feel that we have just that connection. We’re teammates at the end of the day.
“I don’t think it’s a situation where like we go out and drink beers and have movie night and all that stuff. No, we don’t do that. But when it comes to ball and me being a better football player and him seeing the best out of me, I know that’s a fact. He wants to see me be great,” Miller said.
An even harsher critic of Miller’s play has been Miller himself. He has suggested that even if he’s disrupting drop-backs or stuffing the run, what he measures himself by are sacks, and those have been hard to come by this season.
He sacked Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew II twice two weeks ago, giving him an even 100 for his career. But he didn’t get close to Derek Carr, Mitchell Trubisky or Aaron Rodgers and Rivers avoided a sack with an intentional grounding Sunday when Miller had him in his grasp.
Miller said he doesn’t care if Fangio’s blunt critiques come off as mean-spirited, either.
“I’m not really worried about that,” Miller said. “I’m worried about being the best football player I can possibly be, and I know his mindset is there and that’s exactly where my mindset is.”
Miller said that whatever Fangio tells the media he says right to his face.
“He’s going to keep it all the way 100. As a player, you can appreciate that. I don’t want a guy” sugarcoating it, Miller said. “If I’m not doing well, I would want him to tell me. If I can work at something, I want him to tell me about that. Coach Fangio might tell everybody about it, but he’s going to keep it 100 with me and I can appreciate it.”
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