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Von Miller Clarifies Why he Was Tasked with Covering Steelers WR Chase Claypool

Really, Coach Fangio?

The Denver Broncos are quickly allowing the cushion built up by virtue of the team's 3-0 start this season to erode away. In the wake of Denver's 27-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, that makes it two in a row the Broncos have dropped. 

Sitting at 3-2, it's back to the drawing board for the Broncos and especially Vic Fangio. One of the sharpest complaints I got from listeners during the Huddle Up Podcast's post-game stream was how Fangio had Von Miller — a rush linebacker — dropping back into coverage on a speedy wideout. 

After the game, Miller clarified for fans why he was covering Steelers' receiver Chase Claypool.

“I can rush the passer, and I can cover, too. I just had to be inside a little bit more," Miller said. "When I let him get inside, he can run all day. That’s just me. I’ve got to be more solid in coverage. You don’t want to rush all day, so whenever I get in the secondary or cover guys, I can do it. From tight ends to running backs to receivers like Claypool, I can do it—especially if it’s just one or two plays a game. I can definitely get it done. I just couldn’t get it done today.”

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Miller should rarely be asked to drop back into coverage, though it is wise to mix things up now and again (think back to his pick-six in the 2015 AFC title game). However, it's absolutely pivotal that the coach calling the plays and deciding when Miller drops into coverage has a great gut feel for when to pull the trigger. The jury's out on whether Fangio is such a coach. 

As Miller opined, no one in Orange and Blue could get it done in Week 5. It was an ugly performance in all three phases once again. 

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The Broncos' offense was bad and could get nothing going 'til the fourth quarter when all of Teddy Bridgewater's efforts turned up a dollar short in the final analysis. But the Broncos' defense was bad, too. 

Miller and company allowed Ben Roethlisberger to convert 7-of-12 on third down (58%) and total 391 yards from scrimmage, relinquishing 27 points as a defense that was holding opponents to just 12.3 through four games. Yikes. 

The Broncos weren't able to pressure Big Ben consistently, sacking him just once (though that Malik Reed play forced a fumble Denver recovered). The Broncos couldn't stop the run either, allowing Pittsburgh to romp for 147 yards on the ground, 122 of which came courtesy of rookie back Najee Harris. 

Adding insult to injury, the Broncos entered Week 5 as the top red-zone defense in the NFL. It did them no favors as the Steelers scored touchdowns on a perfect 100% of drives that crossed Denver's 20-yard line. 

Nothing went right for Denver and that's why Fangio, Miller, Bridgewater — and all of this team's leaders — have to get back to the drawing board and find a way to stop the bleeding. If the Broncos don't turn the ship around soon, that 3-0 start will have been squandered and the darkness of the past five seasons will return to smother the Mile High City once again and likely force some massive changes at UCHealth Training Center (*cough, Fangio*). 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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