Simmons, a third-round pick out of Boston College, and Will Parks, a sixth-round pick from Arizona, are two members of the eight-man draft class that made the Broncos' initial 53-man roster. The two newest members of the "No Fly Zone" lived together in the team hotel from the beginning of rookie minicamp all the way through the end of preseason, and they've formed a pretty tight bond along the way.* *
"Rookie Diaries" follows Simmons and Parks as they traverse their way through the season. Football will have a heavy impact on their years, but this space will also allow them to focus on their lives away from UCHealth Training Center. As they adjust to the realities of the NFL, this is their space to talk to each other and, in their words, reflect on life in the pros. * Oct. 3, 2016 - 'A lot of meat left on the bone'*
Justin Simmons: I grew up in Florida so there were a lot of games like the one on Sunday, unfortunately. I'm kind of used to it.
Will Parks: I've never experienced a delay. I've seen it on TV. Once it happened to me it was like, 'OK, this is the league.' You just never know what you're gonna get.
JS:** The players and the coaches did a great job keeping us focused. Six minutes, 50 seconds left, the offense has the ball and a great chance to drive and kill the clock, it's easy to just be like, 'The game's over. We just want to go home.' But everyone in the locker room did a great job making sure that we were still focused. Making sure that we finished it out to become 4-0. I've never seen a player-driven program with great coaches that really hits home on great points. That was one of them.
WP: I wasn't thinking about anything the Bucs were doing. I was worried about my team and worried about what I could do to help my team.
JS: I definitely think it's harder to be up 27-7 and go into the locker room. At that point you're thinking, 6:50 left in the game, it's 27-7, it's basically a three-score game. You're telling yourself there's no way they can come back. We'd been stopping them all day on defense. Offense was moving the ball pretty well. But it's the exact opposite. You've seen games like that in the past happen. I go back and I think about that Michael Vick game between Philadelphia and New York and how they came back with a 10 percent chance of winning that game. And they came back to win. It's games like that that you think about and that we really just need to close this out to keep the door closed and get on that plane and get home with a fourth win.
WP:** We're a 60-minute football team so whatever we've got to do to finish, we'll do. I wasn't worried about Tampa Bay.
JS: It felt great to play after missing last week. Got a few reps on special teams, and it was just nice to get back out there and fly around. But I know I don't have to rush back.
It just goes to show how this organization has been operating and why it's been so successful. They've really been taking care of their players, and like I said, my injury's not as significant as a lot of others, so I have the luxury if someone goes down – I can definitely strap up and get in there and play. I have to wear a club, obviously, but it's not as bad as pulling a hamstring or something like that.
WP: That just goes to show you that the Denver Broncos take care of their players. Bottom line. Is everyone here is being thought of, everyone here is here for a reason.
JS: They also trust you to know your body and your limits and making sure you're on top of your stuff. If you say you can go, they 100 percent trust you.
WP: That goes to show you how much everybody cares about one another. They're not going to rush you into a situation you're not ready for.
JS: I would say it's a little bit unique. I would say just being around Boston College and hearing from my good friends at other programs, I think everyone tries to make that the standard but a lot of teams – especially if you have your better players out – they're trying to force you to play, especially in the bigger games. It's definitely something unique here.
WP:** You're looking for a players' coach. You're looking for someone who's going to push you, but at the same time, if you can't go, he's going to make sure you're in the right spot at the right time and when it is time to go that you know you're 100 percent ready.
JS: It's also about the guys in the locker room. This leadership is unbelievable. Two of those guys are T.J. Ward and Von Miller. Talk about a player-driven program. Those guys -- day in and day out, they have fun while they're doing it too. You would never know that they're on other guys and making sure they're on their stuff, because they're having fun while they're doing it. It's just a part of the unique experience that I'm so blessed to have as a rookie.
WP: We're going through a grind regardless. Rookie, vet. It don't even matter. Sixteen games is a grind, but at the end of the day we're not even looking at it. We're looking at the next day. We're looking at the next obstacle we've got to face. It is a grind but we will be prepared for it.
JS: I definitely think winning always helps. The fun of the game is in winning. Right now it's just been a great experience. We're 4-0. Things are going our way and we're executing at a high level. There's still a lot of meat left on the bone by just looking at the tape and a lot of things I know I can fix. I don't think I've hit that wall yet.
WP: We've got to continue to do what we do and embrace our mark on this league, embrace our mark on everybody we play. Our presence will be felt, whether they like it or not. We can't worry about what other people are doing. We've got to worry about us.