Since Von Miller exited the Denver Broncos' Week 7 game vs. the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter with an ankle injury, fans have been holding their collective breath. With the Broncos falling 17-14 to the Browns, completing a four-game losing streak, the last thing fans wanted to hear was that any lasting injury has befallen the face of the franchise.
On Thursday night, Miller was well enough to take to the podium where he said his ankle is "good" and played down his injury, revealing that he was held out from returning as a precaution and that were it up to him, he would have retaken the field in the second half.
After promising earlier this week that when it came to the Browns' offensive tackles, he was going to 'kill 'em', Miller admitted that his ankle isn't the only thing paining him at the moment.
“I feel like my pride is hurting more than my ankle," Miller said ruefully.
For now, it would seem that Broncos Country can exhale. Miller is going to be okay, although I'm sure he'll undergo further testing upon the team's return to the Mile High City.
If there's a silver lining it's that the Broncos now get to benefit from a 'mini-bye' with 10 days separating the team's last embarrassing performance from the next game. The Washington Football Team will roll into Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday, October 31.
In the meantime, the Broncos have some 'splainin' to do and a lot of time to hopefully get to the bottom of what appears to be a lasting rot at the foundations of this team. Now sitting at 3-4, the Broncos are quickly playing themselves out of the AFC West conversation.
With cries for the job of head coach Vic Fangio and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur increasing in amplitude, it's anyone's guess whether the Broncos opt to make any meaningful changes between now and Week 8's matchup. There appear to be a few tweaks the team could make without firing anyone, including handing play-calling duties to QBs coach Mike Shula and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Oh, and perhaps Fangio — if indeed his job survives long enough — will consider pulling the plug on the Teddy Bridgewater experiment. It would take swallowing his pride but after the indignities the Broncos fan base has been force-fed over the past four weeks (and five years), it's perhaps the least Fangio could do.
The distinct possibility exists that Drew Lock could provide the very spark this team needs to turn the ship around. After all, when Fangio finally turned to him in Week 13 of the 2019 season, the Broncos sat at 3-8 and Lock absolutely sparked an impressive 4-1 finish.
If the best predictor of the future is the past, anyway. With Bridgewater barely able to walk, it's worth mentioning that Lock is 100% healthy, still has that big arm that can threaten a defense, and showed strong signs of improvement this summer despite Fangio opting to err on the side of the 'higher floor' over the 'higher ceiling'.
Even if Lock fails to move the needle, it's not as if the Broncos' current depredations could get any worse. There's nowhere to go but up.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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