The second pick of the 2011 draft, Denver's Von Miller, has become the premier outside linebacker in the NFL at 23 years old. He was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year and most recently a first-team All-Pro. His 18.5 sacks last season set a new franchise record, and he finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
The Huffington Post Miller caught up with Miller to discuss what he didn't expect to learn about Peyton Manning, why Miller won't change his "fanatical" playing style, despite the rule changes -- and why he expects the Broncos will win next season's Super Bowl.
You're a pretty fashionable guy. What is the inspiration?
I try to take care of my glasses, my image and my frames, and [my partnership with AXE] ties in. I've always been a fashionable guy and when I had the means to get the clothes that I like, I just took advantage of it.
Talk about your sleep, specifically during the season. How much do you need?
I want to get eight hours of sleep. If I get eight hours, then I'm good. I can go seven hours -- you know, sometimes you don't get that.
What do you need, recovery-wise, to play at a high level every week?
Throughout the season, it's a weekly process. It takes about seven days to recover from the game before and right when you're starting to feel ready to go, you got a game. You have to stay up on nutrition, for sure. Early in the season it might not get you, but we play a 16-game season with a bye week and a four-week preseason schedule, and then you got the playoffs. It's a combination of things to make it throughout the year healthy.
You mentioned the preseason. A lot of guys would prefer it if it were cut in half.
Those games really aren't tough on the starters. They're really trying to find their team, find out who can play in the National Football League. It's not too strenuous on the starters. I mean, the preseason is not too bad. Training camp is more gruesome with practices. I think it's good the way it is. The NFL is getting bigger and bigger every year. I don't see why there's any need to change anything.
From a defensive perspective, how have the rule changes affected you, given the short time you've been in the league?
The rule changes -- I mean, I've been fined a lot. I don't think it's a big deal. It's all for players' safety. I would like my fine number to be a lot less, but the rules in place are there to protect the guys. I'm all for that, for player protection.
Football happens so fast, particularly at your position. Is there ever a time when you think to yourself, "Hey, maybe I've got to ease up a bit?"
For me, it wasn't late hits or cheap hits. All of my fines were below-the-knee hits. When I'm rushing the A and B gaps, and the guards, when you beat them, you're so close to the quarterback. If you fall, you fall into their knees and lower areas. I went through a little fine [stretch] during the regular season, and I was able to get out of it and just play football. [Being] a good football player is really what brought on those fines. I like to play with a fanatical effort and a relentless pursuit to the ball. That's what really got me in trouble. And that's what makes me a good football player, so I'm not going to change that.
You made a nice little prediction recently, saying that the Broncos would win the 2014 Super Bowl. Are you standing by that?
I definitely feel like we have all the pieces in place. I don't see why not.
What did Peyton Manning bring to this team, aside from just being the great quarterback that he is?
A sense of urgency to the organization and to the whole city of Denver. On a more individual level, I really didn't know how hilarious Peyton was. You see him just as a drill sergeant and hard worker -- which he is -- but to see him with stardom and come down and be one of the guys, I mean, that's great, seeing the way he balances it.
You mean how he interacts with everyone?
It doesn't matter. You can be the highest guy on the totem pole or you could be a janitor, he treats everyone the same.