While 2010 No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Ndamukong Suh is being heavily criticized for dirty play, 2011 No. 2 overall pick Von Miller is starting to pile up the fines. Unlike Suh, though, Miller is taking responsibility for his actions and he is willing to make the necessary adjustments to play within the rules of the game.
Miller -- who has 9.5 sacks and who is the leading candidate to win the defensive rookie of the year award -- was fined $25,000 for roughing the passer when he struck Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez in the chest area with his helmet in a 17-13 Denver win Nov. 17. He was fined $15,000 for a similar hit on Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer a few weeks ago. Miller was fined the large amount because he was a repeat offender.
Miller told reporters in Denver on Friday that he understands that fines are in place to promote player safety and he will do what it takes to avoid fines.
“I definitely don’t want to get fined, but its part of the game now,” Miller said. “I’ve definitely got to make those adjustments to not get fined again … I fully think that I can make those adjustments. We all get compensated in this league to play the game we love, and we get compensated to make those adjustments. I’m fully confident that I can make those adjustments … You just can’t aim up high like that. I’ve definitely got to be more conscious of the way I’m approaching the quarterback and the angles [at which] I’m approaching the quarterback and what I’m using when I’m taking them down.”
Despite making the adjustments, Miller vowed to stay aggressive.
“I’m still going to have relentless pursuit to the ball,” Miller said. "I’m still going to play with a fanatical effort to the ball, but the thing that I need to change is my approach to engage in contact with players. I think I can definitely make that adjustment, and that’s about it.”
I admire Miller’s attitude and approach. Instead of whining or complaining about being fined, Miller realizes the game is bigger than him, and he is the one who must conform and modify his approach on the field. It will be interesting to watch Miller in the coming weeks to see if his adjustments alter his game at all.
He has come into the league known as a smart, studious, team-oriented player. So, I don’t expect any major issues as he learns from his $40,000 lesson. Perhaps Suh could learn from Miller.