Fox: Business as usual with Miller

The Denver Broncos are either confident they will have star pass-rusher Von Miller for the first four games of the regular season or they simply do not want to deal with the reality of the idea.

Denver coach John Fox told reporters Wednesday that Miller will get first-team repetitions while he awaits his appeal of a four-game suspension for substance abuse. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported it will be held in mid-August and there will be resolution prior to Denver’s season opener, Sept. 5 against Baltimore.

“Well, first of all let me make one thing perfectly clear, that we are aware of the reports,” Fox said in comments distributed by the team. “Due to confidentiality, we can’t report, but I can sit here and tell you here as of right now when we start camp, every one of our players is eligible, there are no suspensions and that is the way we will start the season.”

Miller was guarded in his answers, but maintained that he is looking forward to the season.

“I’m focused. I love playing football,” Miller said. “I can’t wait for training camp to start. ... I look forward to rushing the passer and doing all those drills ... and just getting back to laughing and doing all the stuff we do out there on the football field. I’m anxious for that.”

The Broncos are anxious to hear good news about Miller. Playing four games without him would be a major blow. Miller has 30 sacks in his first two NFL seasons. Just four players have accomplished that feat since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

Denver is a much more effective defense with Miller than without him. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he played 915 out of 1,015 defensive snaps last season. Denver allowed 4.5 yards per play with Miller and 5.1 without him. Opponents’ Total QBR was 21.8 with Miller on the field and 58.8 with him off the field.

In other AFC West notes:

Offensive lineman Travelle Wharton has cancelled his visit to Denver. I get the sense he is looking for more than what Denver is offering. He will sit and wait. Denver could always revisit.

The NFL Network is reporting the Chiefs hope to get No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher signed by the weekend. Kansas City’s rookies started to practice Tuesday, but the full team doesn’t start until Friday. I don’t get the sense there is much worry that the starting right tackle will miss significant time.

As expected, Denver plans to keep star left tackle Ryan Clady out of training camp for the first two or three weeks, according to the Denver Post. Clady had offseason rotator cuff surgery, but he is fine. Denver wouldn’t have given him a new contract this month otherwise. Also, offensive lineman Chris Kuper and J.D. Walton are on the physically unable to perform list.

New San Diego pass-rusher Dwight Freeney is now wearing his customary No. 93. Defensive tackle Cam Thomas is wearing No. 92. I’m sure it cost Freeney a tad to get the number.