It isn’t too often that a player can make the switch from offensive side of the ball to defensive, especially in the NFL when a player’s position has been solidified for years, but Miller has done just that now – twice.
First playing in the NFL as a converted linebacker after being drafted by the Kansas City Cheifs, Miller would be repackaged as a tight end with the Seattle Seahawks.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound player split time between the Seahawks’ and Chicago Bears’ practice squads last season before signing with the Redskins.
He admitted that it’s been an unusual journey, but that he’s comfortable being back on defense.
“It is kind of wild to make transitions like this at this level, but it has been good,” Miller said. “The coaches have been really detailed in teaching me and everyone the nuances of the defense, so I feel like I picked it up very well, but there's still a ton I need to work on and figure out.
“I really like the defensive side of the ball, so I have enjoyed it.”
Between outside linebackers coach Brian Baker – a distinguished pass-rush specialist – and Pro Bowlers
“Between the three of them they have a ton of experience and they have been very successful with what they do,” Miller said. “Any coaching points I can pick up from Coach Baker, anything I can see from Kerrigan and Orakpo is helpful. It is pretty awesome to have that kind of leadership.”
While Baker works with the outside linebackers on certain ball-catching drills to keep them sharp for when the opportunity to intercept a ball presents itself, Miller’s main concern during the offseason was getting his technique down.
“In the offseason, rather than always catching passes and running routes, you’re working pass-rush and working more training side to side and speed stuff,” he explained.
His hard work was on display in Monday’s game vs. Cleveland, when he sacked Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Despite being known for his elusiveness, Manziel couldn’t free himself from Miller, who said it was a “cool feeling” to get his first-career sack on national television against the Heisman Trophy Award winner.
“It’s definitely something you try to do as an outside linebacker,” Miller said of the sack. “You try to pressure the quarterback, you try to get after them and take them down, so it was nice.”