Von Miller mission: Proving that he still got it for the LA Rams

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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There is quite a lot riding on the line right now. The LA Rams won the NFC West Division, have their best record since their 2018 season ended with a record of 13-3, and catapulted the Rams all the way to compete in Super Bowl LIII. That’s cause for celebrations, isn’t it?

Instead, the team is trying to shake off a loss. One loss. That’s all it was, just one regular-season loss. The Rams won 12 games. The Rams are heading to the NFL Playoffs. This is a pretty impressive team.

Of course, the 2018 team was pretty impressive too. The Rams were beating the San Francisco 49ers, for starters. Of course, the LA Rams had a pretty stout offensive line,  a couple of hot wide receivers, and an incredible off the bench running back sensation in C.J. Anderson then.

But they didn’t have veteran outside linebacker Von Miller then. But they do now. He got hot for the Rams to close out the season. But everyone knows that the regular season is for the fans. The NFL Playoffs are for the players, and he’s got the right range on the quarterback.

Amidst the deepening disappointment of the LA Rams playing what amounts to a road game at SoFi Stadium on Week 18 to close out the season, and more and more persons jumping on the “Fire Raheem Morris” Bandwagon each day, nobody is talking about just how effective Von Miller has been down the stretch. So we will.

Von Miller is crushing it

The LA Rams traded a 2022 second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Von Miller and then kicked in a 2022 third-round draft pick so that the Broncos, not the Rams, would swallow his 2021 salary cap hit. So what did the Rams get in return?

In eight games, Von Miller has racked up 31 tackles, five quarterback sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, one pass deflection, one forced fumble, and nine quarterback hits.  If he played for the Rams the entire season? Those numbers quickly jump to 66 tackles, 11 quarterback sacks, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and 19 quarterback hits. If you take the time to examine his career? He is playing as he did in the prime of his career.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that all five of his sacks, plus 18 of his 31 tackles, have all come in the past four contests. That’s pretty solid stuff, and that was playing for a team he is continuing to become more and more familiar with.

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Will Von Miller be a one-and-done signing?

What does projecting his past four games into a four-game run in the postseason look like? How would 23 tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble sound? That’s the type of postseason performance he delivered for the Denver Broncos in 2015, and he’s already humming like that season for the Rams right now.

Of course, Miller is on borrowed time for the LA Rams right now. When the team traded for him, they did so knowing that Von Miller was playing on an expiring contract. But is the front office crazy like a fox? The guy is playing in his contract year. The guy is playing in the NFL Playoffs for a new team. The guy is only now starting to get acclimated to his role on a new defense. But perhaps most of all, the star of the Denver Broncos, the veritable face of the franchise, was given a vote of no-confidence when the front office dealt him away.

Talk about motivation?  He is a proven game-changer, and he suddenly has every reason in the world to give the Broncos their comeuppance by dominating in the NFL Playoffs. Of course, if he does, the Rams will unlikely be able to afford to re-sign him to a contract for 2022 or thereafter.

But it means hoisting a Lombardi Trophy? Yeah, I’m thinking that the Rams organization would be perfectly fine with that. I love what veteran Von Miller brings to the LA Rams. I’d love it if his career lasted another 4-6 years with this team.

But the man is on a mission. He deserves to get paid his asking price if he succeeds.

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