Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, believes this year's group of defensive backs is capable of great things.
Denver loaded up on talent in their secondary this offseason, adding veteran corners Kyle Fuller from Chicago and Ronald Darby from Washington during free agency, and the team spent its first-round pick (ninth overall) on Alabama corner Pat Surtain II.
The new DBs have helped to bolster a Broncos secondary that already boasted a tandem of Simmons and Kareem Jackson at safety. With a
plethora of talent, expectations are high for this defensive backs group, especially for team leader Simmons.
"My main focus is — defensively, we have a lot of talent on paper, and we want to be the best," Simmons said. "There's no ifs ands or buts about it. We
just have to stay healthy. Communication has to be great, and execution will come."
Simmons is looking forward to building on the success of last season's secondary with his new teammates, and has no shortage of praise for
the Broncos' new DB additions.
"Kyle [Fuller] is amazing," Simmons said of the Broncos offseason acquisition. "[And] Darby is so athletically gifted that a lot of this is kind of seamless for him."
Simmons is particularly impressed by rookie corner Surtain's talent and maturity.
"He's great — he's just so mature," Simmons said. "He gets conceptually what we're doing on defense. Everyone knows what he did at Bama, and I think he's going to do great things for us here, even in his rookie season."
With so many new pieces in Denver's defensive backfield, Simmons credits corner Bryce Callahan for helping to unite the secondary, thanks to experience with both the Broncos and Fuller's former team, the Chicago Bears.
"It helps having Bryce because Bryce knows us really well and he knows Kyle really well," Simmons said. "He's kind of that bridge that's kind of helped bring everything together."
Simmons, who is now an All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety, also wants to improve personally this season.
"If we're going to be where we want to be and get to the goals that we have set, I have to make those 20 plays better and I have to play at a higher level," Simmons said. "I'm really excited for that — it'll be great."
With a new group of defensive back talent and a fresh season on the horizon, Simmons is moving on from last year and is focused on the future.
"Every year is a new year," the Broncos safety said. "It doesn't matter what you did the year prior."
Below the Fold
Broncos linebacker Von Miller is confident that left tackle Garett Bolles is the best in the NFL at this position, and Miller is not mincing his words.
"Garett Bolles, he's blocking the best pass rushers in the league," Miller said on Tuesday. "He is the best left tackle in the league. If he's not the best, he's top three — and he's not [No.] 3."
A first-round selection by Denver in 2017, Bolles notched his first All-Pro season in 2020. He also formed a special bond with Miller, who "took Bolles under his wing as a rookie and helped give him a guiding light," according to Chad Jensen of SportsIllustrated.com.
Miller has been vocal about his relationship with Bolles and his admiration for the left tackle's growth in the league.
"I'm so proud of him," Miller said. "Y'all know about my relationship with Garrett Boles and the type of jump that he's made."
In fact, Miller is so bullish on the Broncos offense as a whole this year that he believes he could step in and be successful at quarterback for his team.
"[Bolles] is definitely developing into a big-time left tackle, so we've got time," Miller said. "We've got [RT] Bobby Massie on the other side, [G] Dalton Risner, and all these guys. I can go out there and play quarterback, and I can throw it to Jerry Jeudy and he's going to catch it and score a touchdown."
Though he of course won't take the reins at QB for the Broncos in 2021, Miller believes that Denver has all of the pieces in place and is destined for a winning season.
"I'm super excited for our offense, I'm super excited for our defense," Miller said. "I don't know how many games we're going to win but I know we will win a lot of games this year."