Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil were more than just teammates the last two years; as Miller noted, "We were brothers off the field."

They were so close that they communicated every day between the fax faux pas that led to Dumervil's release and his decision to sign with Baltimore. Miller even went to Dumervil's Miami home upon returning from a USO trip to Afghanistan to talk with his teammate.

When Dumervil left, it seemed that no Bronco would feel Dumervil's loss like Miller. Without a Pro Bowl pass rusher on the opposite side, Miller will be an even tighter focal point of foes' blocking schemes. Yet Miller isn't concerned at all.

"I feel like we have a way better team than we had last year," he said.

Some of that is due to the additions around the roster, starting with wide receiver Wes Welker. Another reason is the continuity in the defensive scheme with Jack Del Rio returning as defensive coordinator; he's the first in that position to return for another Broncos season since Larry Coyer, who ran the defense from 2003-06 before the carousel started spinning.

But Miller's confidence also stems from the April 27 addition of Shaun Phillips. Like Dumervil, Phillips has advised Miller, with a friendship dating back to before the Broncos drafted him in 2011.
Their relationship took root because both are represented by the same agency, Athletes First.

"He just had a lot of wisdom to give me before I had even stepped on the field, before I had even met Elvis," Miller said.

"(With) some of the wisdom he can give me -- third downs, nickel situations, he can get after the passer, too, and from a number of different positions -- I'm pretty excited about our defense."