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Miller not concerned: Sacks will come

(TSX / STATS) -- ENGLEWOOD, Colo -- Von Miller hasn't had a sack in five games, believe it or not.

It's not because he isn't generating pressure; in those five games, he has 11 quarterback hurries, according to the numbers compiled by ProFootballFocus.com, including three in the Denver Broncos' season-opening win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

But as was the case last year, the Chargers tried to do whatever they could to keep the game away from Miller and All-Pro cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib. That meant short passes and, on the occasions when they did go downfield, passes that tested the safeties and No. 3 cornerback Bradley Roby.

Still, Miller isn't frustrated. He knows that he impacts the game. He knows he changes how teams play, and he knows the Cowboys will try and scheme him, even with their fearsome offensive line up front to protect quarterback Dak Prescott and clear lanes for running back Ezekiel Elliott.

"No, I mean I've been playing great," Miller said. "We've been playing great as a defense. When you lose a game and you get five sacks you feel like, 'Man I lost the game,' but you still had five sacks so it's kind of different.

"Everybody has standards for everybody and I hold myself to the highest (standard)," Miller said. "I think nobody really holds them self to a standard. Like me, I'm on it. The sacks are going to come and whatever opportunity I get to make those plays I'm going to make them happen."

Miller sees double-teams, triple-teams, chips and holds more often than almost any other edge rusher in football. But this week's challenge is different -- an offensive line that features three All-Pros.

The question is this: Will Dallas try to block Miller one-on-one?

"To block Von one-on-one on third downs or passing downs wouldn't be smart for anyone," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. "I'm not sure. I hope they block him one-on-one. That would be good for us."

Miller, a native of the Dallas area, wants to show his old hometown what he's about. He missed the 2013 game against the Cowboys while serving a six-game suspension to open that season.

But he wants a win far more than a few chances to show off a sack dance for his hometown. So if the double-teams come and take him out of the backfield, that's fine -- as long as the Broncos are on the high side of the score line.

"When you win a game and you don't get any sacks, I still have that same impression on myself: 'Man we won, we played great as a defense. I played great but I didn't get sacks,'" he said. "That's what I'm about."

--C.J. Anderson is the "bell cow" in the running-back room, but Broncos head coach Vance Joseph could have a good problem soon: figuring out how to squeeze Devontae Booker into the mix.

Booker, who started in the second half of the 2016 season after Anderson suffered a torn meniscus in his knee, practiced Wednesday after missing the last three months because of a fractured wrist suffered during OTAs, although he is not expected to play Sunday as he completes his recovery.

Anderson and Jamaal Charles combined for 121 yards and averaged 4.0 yards per carry as the Broncos were able to have the kind of balanced attack that eluded them for most of last year. They combined for 30 of the Broncos' 36 carries, and the team finished with four more runs than pass plays (32).

Anderson had 20 of the carries -- for 81 yards -- and emerged feeling fresh and obviously happy to be the clear No. 1 back.

"It's been a while since I had a workload like that," Anderson said. "I feel good. I got most of the soreness out today, so I'm fine."

That balance -- with a slight weight toward the ground game -- might not happen every week.

"We're going to change from week to week," Anderson said. "Trev [Trevor Siemian] might throw for 500 yards this week. Me and Jamaal might have 10 carries between the both of us. At the end of the day, it's about the 'W.'"

--Broncos head coach Vance Joseph has a new honor for his players -- the "I Balled" award.

It isn't quite like getting a game ball. But he wanted to create another category to honor players who made big efforts during each game. For Week 1, wide receiver Cody Latimer, tight end Virgil Green, linebackers Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall and punter Riley Dixon each got "I Balled" awards.

"We have our game balls," Joseph said. Those were given to defensive end Shelby Harris -- who had the game-winning blocked field-goal attempt -- wide receiver Bennie Fowler, who caught two touchdown passes, and safety Darian Stewart.

"So that's the highest you can go for that week for playing well and also not making errors," Joseph said. "The second category is just for guys who put up a nice effort on tape for us."

NOTES: DE Zach Kerr returned to practice Wednesday after missing Week 1 because of a bruised knee suffered against the Packers on Aug. 26. He is expected to play against the Cowboys. ... RB Devontae Booker practiced Wednesday, marking his first work since he suffered a fractured forearm in OTAs. He will "probably" not play this week, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. ... DE Shelby Harris received one of the Broncos' game balls after his game-winning field-goal block preserved the 24-21 win Monday night. Harris also played extensively on defense with Zach Kerr and Jared Crick sidelined. ... RB De'Angelo Henderson is expected to see some opportunities on offense Sunday as the Broncos work him into the rotation. Henderson played only on special teams in the season opener. ... DE Jared Crick should play Sunday after missing Week 1 because of back spasms. He practiced Wednesday. ... QB Paxton Lynch remains sidelined because of a right shoulder injury suffered Aug. 26. He has not practiced since then. ... OLB Shaquil Barrett played 54 of a possible 59 snaps Monday in his first game back after missing the preseason because of a hip injury. Barrett could get more rest Sunday as the Broncos monitor his workload closely. He had a sack in the season opener.

Updated September 13, 2017

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