Broncos star pass-rusher Von Miller confident in new coach, contract year, QB



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DENVER — Unlike a year ago when he was coming off a torn ACL, Von Miller doesn't seem to have a single care.

No concerns about his contract.

No worries about a new coaching staff.

And no doubt that Peyton Manning will bounce back in 2015.

"It's not the first season he's been doubted. He was doubted the first season he came here," Miller said of Manning, who contemplated retirement this offseason after an injury-marred slide to end 2014. "I think the way Peyton's going to come out with it is going to be classic."

Manning has gone 40-13 in Denver after his release from Indy following spinal fusion surgery in 2011, and in many ways was better than before. But last season ended on a sour note when Manning was bothered by a strained right thigh and the Broncos were upset by his old team in the playoffs.

"He's been down before; he's come out and broken records," Miller said. "So, I wouldn't want that type of responsibility to be in anybody else's hands but his. I feel totally confident in what he's going to be able to do and the type of Peyton that we're going to see this year."

Manning, Miller and the rest of the Broncos — minus star receiver Demaryius Thomas, who's been franchised — are set to report to Dove Valley on Monday for the start of offseason work under new head coach Gary Kubiak.

"It's going to be different. Everybody wants to talk about cracking the whip. Man, I've been cracking the whip since I got here. So, it really shouldn't be a big difference having those guys," Miller said.

New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is installing a 3-4 defense to highlight the pass-rushing prowess of Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

"New is always exciting and it's always fun. And this type of defense we're going to run, I know for a fact we're going to bring the pressure," Miller said.

The Broncos didn't make their usual big splash in free agency this year, but Miller said that doesn't mean Denver didn't make the right moves. He said he's excited to see veteran defensive tackle Antonio Smith joining the Broncos, saying "his personality is going to fit great in our locker room."

The Broncos have lost a few starters to free agency, including nose tackle Terrance Knighton and safety Rahim Moore. Miller just shrugs.

"I don't think there's been one year where I looked back and said, 'Man, the team that we had last year was better.' I've always felt confident in the right now, the team we have, it doesn't matter who we had or who we didn't have," Miller said. "So, I feel great. I feel like we've got another great team. I feel like we're stacked again."

Miller also seems unfazed about entering his contract year, one in which he'll make $9.754 million, a big jump from the $3.25 million he made last year. Still, it's peanuts compared to what he could command with another big season in 2015.

He's determined not to let finances interfere with football. He said he trusts the front office and his representatives will hammer out a good deal, "so I'm in a unique situation where I can just sit back and play football and let everything else just take care of itself."

Miller made his comments before handing out prescription eyeglasses to low-income children during a pizza party at Sports Authority Field.

This year, doctors screening children for Von's Vision discovered swollen optic nerves in one of the children, a sign of a serious medical condition. The child's family was alerted to seek emergency attention from specialists. That child received eyeglasses Wednesday night.

"All I ever wanted was to put glasses on kids' faces and help them see," Miller said. "It's just a true blessing when you create something like this and it goes above and beyond expectations."


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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