ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --What more can the "No-Fly Zone" do?
Consider this: The Broncos have boasted the top-ranked passing defense for two consecutive seasons. Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib became the first pair of cornerbacks from the same team to earn first-team All-Pro honors for the same year. Bradley Roby, their No. 3 cornerback, could start almost anywhere.
It's unfair to say this unit can do anything better. But what more can it accomplish?
"Just to play to our standard," Roby said. "We've been the No. 1 passing defense in the league for two years straight, and no one's ever done it for three years."
What Roby and his teammates in the secondary want is simple: a hallowed place in the sport's history.
"That is our biggest goal -- to be the No. 1 pass defense three years straight, just to really show that in history, they can go back and show that the Broncos secondary was one of the best -- if not the best -- secondary to ever play," Roby said. "And the numbers don't lie."
Keeping Roby around plays a key role in that. The Broncos will pick up Roby's fifth-year option, which ties him to the team through the 2018 season. It prevents him from hitting free agency next year, but truth be told, Roby doesn't want to play anywhere else.
"I really like being here," he said. "I know how those things go. I think [about] 24 of the guys in my class also got extended, so I'll take that as a compliment."
With Harris and Talib on the roster, Roby hasn't received as much on-field work as others in his draft class. The emphasis on nickel and dime sub packages ensures that he plays more than half of a game's snaps on a regular basis, so he is effectively a starter. But he still has just 10 regular-season starts to his name.
Could he have done more if he was somewhere else, without a pair of All-Pros in front of him?
"It's human tendency to think those things, but I'm not really worried about it," he said. "At the end of the day, I know I'm in a position where I can continue to learn and I can also go out there and show what I can do, as well. It's not like I'm not playing at all.
"Yeah, I'm not getting the accolades and all the stuff I could be getting. But I got a Super Bowl ring in my second year, and I'm getting better every year. I know that at the end of the day, I'm going to get what I'm supposed to get if I just continue to stay the course and stay positive -- and not think selfish."
Roby's knowledge of this and his confidence in himself allows him to accept the fifth-year option for what it is: a validation of his play and his contribution to a secondary that sets the standard for pass defense in the modern NFL.
"I take that as [that] I fulfilled what they thought about me, what they projected me to be when I got drafted. So I look at that as a good thing."