The Denver Broncos, to many the clear favorites in the AFC, may be taking a big hit soon.
As Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter report, linebacker Von Miller, a defensive force on the squad in each of his first two seasons, is likely going to be handed down a suspension of at least six games for violating the league's substance policy some time this week.
This comes a month after a possible violation from Miller was first reported and sources told ESPN that the 24-year-old will not appeal his possible six-game-or-more reprieve.
The Broncos of course have all the weapons they need on defense and have a defensive secondary stacked with a talent. A main issue of concern has been about the team's pass rush. Miller was relentless in his second NFL season, posting 18.5 sacks and forcing six fumbles in 16 games, making him maybe the most unblock able outside linebacker in all of football.
Denver was tied for first in the league in sacks at 52.0 in 2012, but now face the prospect of losing by far their pass rusher for nearly 40 percent (or more) of the regular season. This is in addition to seeing Elvis Dumervil (37.5 sacks in previous three seasons) move on to the Baltimore Ravens after his agent made a faxing error. And Derek Wolfe, a promising Cincinnati product who recorded half-a-dozen sacks in 2012, received a huge scare when a shot to the neck in a preseason game against the Seahawks forced him to be carried off the field on a stretcher, although all tests were negative on that front and Wolfe appears to be OK.
When exactly the news on Von Miller's suspension will come is unclear. It could come as soon as today though.
Luckily for the Broncos, Miller will be able to play for most of the regular season and the whole postseason (provided he gets in no more trouble). This is certainly a setback, but the Broncos, with 18 under center, are still a formidable squad.