News and notes after the Bills' practice on Thursday:
Von Miller: "I left (Denver) on good terms"
As he enters the middle of his 12th season, Von Miller has pretty much done it all.
With 123.5 career sacks, Miller ranks 19th all-time among NFL defenders. With two Super Bowls under his belt, Miller is one of just 10 defensive players to be named MVP for the game. Playing alongside the likes of Peyton Manning and Demarcus Ware, Miller has been around some of the best athletes to ever pick up a football.
The one thing Miller has yet to check off his NFL bucket list? Facing the Denver Broncos, the team that drafted him and housed him for 10 seasons. Miller was traded to the Rams during the NFL trade deadline in 2021, won a Super Bowl with Los Angeles that season, then signed with Buffalo in March of 2022.
The Bills' opening game of the 2022 season came against the Rams — a game in which Miller had two sacks in the 31-10 win.
Now, Miller will take the field against another former squad when the Broncos (3-5) visit Highmark Stadium Monday night to take on the Bills (5-4). Miller admitted that the game will have a different atmosphere for him but emphasized the mutual love and respect between himself and the team.
"It'll be different for sure. It's not like a revenge game or anything like that. For me, I left on good terms, left and went to go win a Super Bowl. I had a great relationship with everybody in their facility, didn't have any bad blood with anybody in there," Miller said after practice Thursday.
Spending 10 seasons with a team means plenty of Miller's former teammates are now enjoying retirement. However, some of the players who now lead the Broncos locker room are players Miller has had the opportunity to watch grow from draft picks to All-Pros.
Cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who the Broncos drafted in the ninth-overall pick in 2021, was a rookie the year Miller was traded to the Rams. Last season, Surtain II was named to the First-Team AP All-Pro for the first time of his career.
"I remember when these guys got drafted and they were rookies coming in for rookie minicamps and all of these things," Miller said. "I really value my relationships with the players, especially the young players."
Miller is making steady progress as he recovers from a Nov. 2022 ACL tear which kept him out of the first four games of the season. Playing roughly 34 percent of snaps in the Bills' 24-18 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Miller said that he continues to grow closer to playing like the eight-time Pro Bowl, three-time All-Pro version of himself.
"I feel better every week," Miller said. "I would love to take these huge leaps and bounds each and every week but the reality is, I'm just getting a little bit better each and every week and I'm grateful for that. I know I can still play, I know I can still recapture some of the things that I did in the past and the type of player I was."
Miller noted that he has yet to record a sack this season. In 11 games last year, he got to the quarterback eight times. As an elite pass rusher, Miller said he expects to return to the elite talent every time he takes the field but has to allow his body to catch up to his mindset.
"Mentally I always go out there with confidence. Doesn't matter if I go out there on one leg, I always go out there feeling that I can win the game by myself no matter how I'm feeling," Miller said. "But the reality of it is, I'm still recovering, no matter how I try to trick myself, no matter what games I play, no matter where I'm at mentally. Your body is just totally different."
Josh Allen: "We have to make those drives count"
In the first four weeks of the season, the Bills were one of the best offenses in the league, scoring just under 35 points per game. In their following five games, they've averaged just 20.2 points.
With a 5-4 record, the Bills are second in the AFC East behind the Miami Dolphins. In their loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bills' passing attack looked crisp on their opening drive as they went 85 yards downfield for a touchdown. In their four following drives in the first half, the Bills only gained 45 yards and failed to score.
Allen said that the team has moved on and will continue to work towards righting the ship.
"We've got our best football to play, it's in front of us," Allen said. "We're not going to let the fact that we're 5-4 divide us apart. We've had stretches where we haven't played up to our standard in the past and we've always found a way through those, so that's what we're doing: we're trying to find a way through it."
Allen was asked about their early struggles during the 2021 season and if he saw any parallels between the two years. Before rattling off four straight wins to take control of the AFC East, the Bills were 7-6 in December of 2021.
"Backs against the wall and playing your best football in the later part of the year. You can get off to a good start, you can get off to a bad start, and you can still make the playoffs depending on how you finish the year," Allen said.
Allen leads all NFL players with 24 total touchdowns while wide receiver Stefon Diggs has a league-leading 70 receptions, 834 receiving yards (third in NFL) and seven touchdowns (second in NFL).
Even with the uneven showings the last few weeks, the Bills offense still ranks in the top five in the league in yards and points per game.
"I definitely feel like we're on the verge of being the offense that I know we can be. Obviously, every possession counts in this game, especially in the later part of the year. We have to make those drives count," Allen said.
Scroll to see photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 10 Practice as the team prepares to take on the Denver Broncos.