Watch: Mike Tomlin Gushes over Bills DE Von Miller, ‘Alien Visiting from Another Planet’
PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin has respect for every opponent he faces, and he frequently takes time to point out those on opposing teams that he thinks do a good job or will cause a matchup problem for his Pittsburgh Steelers. This Tuesday as the Steelers prepare to face the Buffalo Bills, Tomlin went a step further in his praise for veteran Bills edge rusher Von Miller.
Tomlin was asked how Miller, the Bills’ 33-year-old defensive end, has continued to stay so impactful through age and back-to-back season-ending ankle injuries in 2020 and 2020.
“He’s Von Miller,” Tomlin said. “Some guys are aliens visiting from another planet. That’s just the reality of it. In the National Football League, you’ve got to respect all these guys. They’re all freaky. But some guys are even freaky in our setting, and he’s just one of those guys. He always has been since came out of [Texas] A&M moving and changing and running like a corner.”
Miller does not still run like a corner these days, but three sacks in four games suggest he’s still more than capable of getting the job done. Tomlin said it’s a combination of his physical tools and his attention to the details of his craft that have kept him successful over time.
“This guy is a scientist. He works at his craft. He encourages, trains others to do so that are like him. That edge rush summit that he’s a critical component of, I’ve got a lot of respect for. I spent a week with him in Orlando when we coached the Pro Bowl, just to see the professional and scientific approach that he takes to his craft, even in a setting like that, that guy was the reason we won that Pro Bowl game. I know we don’t spend a lot of time talking about the outcomes of Pro Bowl games, but man, Von Miller took over that Pro Bowl game and gave us all quality checks and we appreciated his efforts.”
As part of that summit that Tomlin referenced, Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith got some help from Miller in developing his “ghost” pass-rush move that helped Highmsith to the AFC lead with 5.5 sacks through four games.
“Man, there’s so much to his game,” Highsmith said. “Von has so many moves in his repertoire. He used speed-to-power yesterday for a sack and then he just hits the ghost. It’s magic. He’s been doing that since he was in the league. … He’s someone that I try to replicate some of my stuff on. You know, he’s one of the best to ever do it.”