I don’t know what Von Miller was talking about or where he was saying it in the video that is probably going around the internet by now by the time this article actually posts. It’s actually rather odd to me, and surely lighthearted, I would have to guess, yet still missing the point.
Miller knows the Pittsburgh Steelers are underdogs, but I suspect what he was really trying to get at was the idea that every team in the league is formidable and can’t be overlooked. That’s certainly the level of respect that his pre-game remarks this week reflected. He particularly reserved praise for the Steelers’ offensive line, and right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor in particular.
“This offensive line is the best offensive line that we’ve faced this season”, he said, without equivocation. Indeed, he first said one of before decisively correcting it to the. “Chuks and Dan Moore, they do a really good job protecting the edges. They got a line full of tough, smart guys”.
Truth be told, Miller’s opinion of Okorafor shouldn’t be shocking. He’s gone up against the Steelers’ right tackle a couple of times, including back in 2018 in the Western Michigan product’s rookie season, before he was a starter, and he held his own rather admirably, only giving up one late sack. He played Okorafor again last year with similar results on the offensive lineman’s part.
“Played the Steelers last year. Always had respect for those guys, but they earned my respect a little bit more after that game”, he said. “They played really, really well, blocked me up pretty good. So going into this game, they have my respect”.
He continued his praise specifically for Okorafor, saying, “Chuks is one of the best right tackles in the league. He don’t get enough respect, but I’ll give it to him”. He also complimented Moore again, noting that they are both Texas A&M alumni, and credited the interior players “playing at a high clip too”.
He is right about one thing, and that is that the Steelers’ offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season, by and large. I think just about all of us feared the worst entering the regular season. The narrative was that it would be so bad that they shouldn’t even play rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett because he was going to get destroyed. Yet it was Mitch Trubisky responsible for most of his own sacks.
Miller already has three sacks through his first four games with the Buffalo Bills this year, now in his 11th season, along with five tackles for loss. He’s proving that at age 33 he is still very much a dynamic, impact player.
Okorafor will certainly be tested on Sunday, regardless of past results. But when you come up against an opponent who has done well against you in the past, I suppose there’s little choice but to acknowledge it. Especially if that success was as recent as last year.