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. *
Sept. 19, 2016 - Headed out on the road
Will Parks: We just got done with corrections for the Colts game. I'm pretty sure once night comes I'll probably text one of the older guys and ask what I should watch. Once Wednesday comes, we start really preparing for them. After that practice, I'll ask what I should really look forward to and stuff like that.
Justin Simmons:Obviously being at home you have the crowd and you have so much going for you. When you're away, all that's flipped. You have to fight the crowd, you obviously have the team against you, especially going into an environment with a good team. To make a long story short, you have to be even more well prepared than you would be if it was a home game.
WP: Hell yeah. In the regular season, you ain't playing against everybody who's trying to make the team. You're playing against everybody who already knows what's going on, kinda knows their offense and system and teams that already have polished quarterbacks, receivers and running backs that have been there for four or five or six years. You're playing against superstars. But at the same time, you're in that position for a reason. You might be a superstar someday. So you've got to prepare and practice.
I thought I wouldn't be up to par as far as the preparation, but I did a pretty good job and that got me 67 plays this last Sunday. I'm just getting better day by day, improving and waiting for my turn.
JS:I just remember my first road game being very difficult. I couldn't even explain why – a lot tougher than it would've been at home. I wish I could pinpoint why it was like that, but I just remember it being a lot harder.
WP:** Just going against a team like Cincinnati is tough. A real good team, a real polished offense and just getting ready for this challenge. Andy Dalton's back there playing quarterback. Another great quarterback in this great league. It's another challenge I look forward to and everybody else looks forward to. That's what I'm kind of waiting for.
We're both rookies, but if someone goes down, we're next in line. We play everybody on Sundays, so we've just got to be ready. You've got to stay ready so you don't ever have to get ready.
JS:I think this season is going how I kind of expected it to be. You always have high expectations for yourself and you always want to make plays and be the 'it factor' but a lot of it takes time. All these guys that are making great plays, they've had their wounds in the past and they've fought through it. It's great because we'll have less wounds because of these guys talking to us. It's just going to take time and a lot of preparation.
WP: My focus has got to be on all-time high. In this league, if you want to keep your job and be a legend one day, the No. 1 thing is focus and after that is preparation. Just living in the moment and making sure you're doing your job and doing it to the fullest. … If you love your job, you'll do everything to protect it.
Man, I feel like you've got this prized possession or gold inside of a bag, and you'll do whatever you've got to do to protect that bag and to always have that bag. At the end of the day, that's why I've been tweeting "Secure the bag." It's plain and simple: Do whatever you've got to do to get that bag. Whether that bag is money, family, gold – whatever it is. However that bag pertains to you in that moment, make sure you get that.
I secure my bag every day. You ain't got to never ask me if I secure my bag. I'm the one that says it. I'm gonna get some shirts made.