PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the first of five key matchups this week in advance of the Packers' Week Four game against the Broncos at Lambeau Field Sunday.
Broncos SLB Von Miller vs. Packers' offensive tackles
Miller, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft for good reason, has quickly become a force to reckon with in Denver's defense, registering two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the first three games. Miller starts on the left side, but with Broncos DRE Elvis Dumervil out the past few weeks (shoulder), the Broncos have been moving Miller around a lot, making it quite likely he will run into both Packers OLT Chad Clifton and whoever starts at right tackle between Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse.
Bulaga suffered a bruised knee 11 plays into last week's game against the Bears and might not be able to suit up on Sunday. If that happens, Newhouse will start on the right side, and Green Bay's top backup offensive tackle will probably be Derek Sherrod, which could result in a few encounters with fellow 2011 first-rounder Miller in Sherrod's first actual game action this season.
Miller could be mistaken if he perceives right tackle as a weak link with Newhouse starting for the first time. After Bulaga left the game last Sunday, Newhouse more than held his own. Despite allowing a sack on a stunt by Bears DT Henry Melton, Newhouse showed impressive poise against the Bears. He has a good head on his shoulders and is fast on his feet.
He will have to be against Miller, whose speed and quickness are major strengths. Miller often just blows by blockers with his rare explosiveness, as was the case on his forced fumble on a sack of Matt Hasselbeck in the Broncos' Week Three loss to the Titans. Miller also has tremendous athleticism and an exceptional first step. If the Packers decide to double-team Miller, it could open up opportunities for Broncos DLE Robert Ayers, who is physical but not much of a pass rusher.