View photos of Bradley Roby's rookie progress.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Bradley Roby wasn't very fond of the early bye week in Week 4. Though he had a good start—he was nominated for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award after a Week 1 performance in which he had seven tackles and three passes defensed, including a clutch play to stop the Colts on their final drive—Roby didn't want to interrupt his learning process.
"I'm still getting my footing, getting used to the NFL and stuff like that, just getting in stride with everything," he said at the time. "I think for me it's not messing up my progression, but I just got to continue to work, mentally, through the bye week and let my body heal a little bit."
Fast-forward to Week 6: Roby is back up for consideration in the polls for Rookie of the Week. He had three tackles and two passes defensed, as well as a sack. It was just another solid outing for a rookie cornerback who's looked like he has more experience in the NFL than the 'R' in his bio.
It certainly seems like the bye week hasn't slowed him down in the slightest. In fact, he hasn't looked slow whatsoever. He certainly didn't look slow to Geno Smith, who was sacked by Roby flying in from the edge on a blitz.
In comparison to his status at the season's start, Roby says he's more comfortable in the defense. His turntable needle has found the groove in the vinyl of his developmental path. "I'm kind of in a rhythm on how to prepare each week, how to prepare for different receivers and things like that," he said. "I think I'm a lot better. I think I have a ways to go. I'm still working on it. From the first game, though, I'm way ahead where I was. Each week I just try to get better."
Roby's play as a rookie has been outstanding given his short time in the NFL so far, and it's drawn attention from the Rookie of the Week award nominations to his coaches and teammates.
"He's a very talented guy, but what usually separates guys is how they prepare, the exactness in this league that you have to play at in pass defense, especially the corner position," Head Coach John Fox said. "I think he's really stood out there. [Secondary Coach] Cory [Undlin] and [Assistant Secondary/Safeties Coach] Sam [Garnes] have done a good job with him. He's very willing, he's a sponge to learn and he's a smart guy, football-wise. He understands concepts, and he's not afraid to work. So I think you'll continue to see that."
As the third cornerback, Roby often comes in during nickel situations to cover the slot receiver, and has shown a pretty complete, savvy game. His coverage has been a valuable addition in the slot and has taken on challenging receivers. He's also been a pretty solid tackler, wrapping up opponents without making many mistakes.
"At the end of the day, if you want it more than him, you'll come out on top. If you run at him harder than he's running at you, you're going to win. Who's going to back down?" Roby said. "I just want to do my job. If a guy comes in my area, I want to get him down. I'm not going to take pride in missing tackles, I don't want to be known for that. I just like to play football, so it comes with it."
It's not hard to see why his play has earned the respect of his colleagues in the secondary. T.J. Ward called him a "young, hungry guy."
"I think he's doing a great job in there," Chris Harris Jr. said. "It's definitely a complex position and he's doing well. He's kind of learning on the fly and to play that position you've got to learn a lot. You've got a lot of responsibility and he's doing a great job. He's improving each week so that's something that you want and that's all you can ask for from any rookie is to get better each week."
"I definitely feel a tie with the other guys, communication-wise," Roby said. "I think we're kind of slowly getting all on the same page. Take it week to week to get better."
With 23 total tackles, six passes defensed and a sack, Roby's showing his impact in a limited role in the secondary's depth, as well as weekly improvement that comes with added experience. And on top of that, his future is looking brighter and brighter with a well-rounded defensive skill set and level of preparation that could pay off for years to come.