When Derek Wolfe, Champ Bailey and Wes Welker went down during the Denver Broncos' beating at the hands of Seattle Seahawks this past weekend, their fans feared the worst. Fortunately, those three escaped any significant injuries, but worse news came down on Tuesday: Von Miller will be suspended six games for violation of the league's substance policy.
After a demoralizing loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, this season was meant to be the one in which Denver righted that wrong. But after the fiasco that was the release of Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos are now down two stud pass-rushers for a large chunk of the 2013 season.
What does this mean going forward for both the defense's and Denver's Super Bowl chances?
What Miller brings
Since Miller came into the league in 2011, there haven't been many players that have made as big an impact as he has. Lining up as a strongside linebacker in the Broncos' base package and moving to a pass-rushing role in their nickel and dime packages, he didn't take long to make a name for himself. In his rookie year, he picked up 60 combined sacks, hits and hurries on his 389 pass rushes. That gave him a pass rushing productivity score of 12.3, a number bettered by only nine others.