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Broncos’ secondary depth shines in win over the Chargers

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“Next man up” is more than just a saying on this defense, its a way of life.

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San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos secondary was down one of it’s top corners and leaders of the No Fly Zone (TM), when Aqib Talib didn’t dress for the game Sunday morning due to some back issues.

Later on in the game, 3rd cornerback, Kayvon Webster, went down with an injury. This left only Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, and Lorenzo Doss active at CB, and Doss had just gotten the word he would dress that morning.

“Obviously Doss did not find out until this morning that he was going, when we knew Aqib couldn’t go. Good job by him stepping up and making some plays. Again, he made a great catch on him in the end zone. He had him covered really well. You look at what Doss did and what Bradley did. You watch those guys come together after losing their leader in Aqib. I’m very proud of them.”

Kubiak preached all last year that it takes all 53 guys to be successful, but in a league where “next man up” becomes a coach speak cliche, it was nice to see it actually pan out.

Doss and Bradley Roby made plays all game long, and came away ranked as two of the Broncos top defenders by Pro Football Focus.

Roby finished with an 83.9 grade (out of 100) and made the list of top ten performances of week 8 for his efforts.

Bradley Roby, CB, Denver Broncos

Stepping in to start for an injured Aqib Talib, Roby was tested often by the Chargers, and responded with the kind of coverage Talib would be proud of. Nine passes were thrown his way during the game, but just two were caught for 34 yards, while he caught one himself for an interception and batted another away. Overall, Philip Rivers had a passer rating of 3.2 when throwing it at Roby in the Broncos’ win.

No that’s not a typo. 3.2 passer rating when throwing against Roby.

Rivers would have been better off throwing the ball into the dirt every play instead of at Roby as that would have netted him a 39.6 passer rating.

After the game Roby talked about feeling the pressure to step up with guys going down. “Talib was down, at the beginning of the game [CB] Kayvon Webster was down, so us as corners knew we had to step up because we only had three guys left.”

And step up they did.

Lorenzo Doss is in just his second year after being drafted in the 5th round out of Tulane. This off-season there was some buzz in training camp around Doss as he consistently made plays on the ball in practice. Yesterday, he got to put that practice to good use.

Doss was Denver’s highest graded member of the No Fly Zone with an 86.4 grade from Pro Football Focus and earned their game ball. He allowed only two catches for 29 yards off of seven targets, and notched a couple of passes defended as well.

Here’s what Bradley Roby had to say about Doss after the game:

“Doss stepped up big. It was his first game being able to get in that action and he dropped two picks. We always clown him because he drops them in practice, but he’s always there so the next thing is just catching it. He made a great play on fourth down on the goal line and the sky is the limit for him as well. He’s just learning from all of us and he played great today.”

What better place to land as a young player than with great players like Denver has in the secondary. “It’s fun. It’s fun being a part of the ‘No Fly Zone’. This is the best secondary in the league. It can’t get any better than this. I just wanted to come in, step in and do my job.” Said Doss after the game. “Every time I came off the field today, [CB] Kayvon Webster was telling me what he could see from the sideline. He was helping me, [CB] Aqib [Talib] was helping me, Chris and [CB Bradley] Roby, the whole secondary was just motivating me to do my job, and that’s what I did.”

And why wouldn’t it be fun when your #2 ranked corner in the league goes down and your secondary still holds Phillip Rivers to a 42% completion rate.

This defensive back group is filled to the brim with talent and now young depth as well who can all step in and contribute when called upon. Rookie Justin Simmons had a sack yesterday late in the game, and Will Parks held up well in coverage in the 4th Quarter.

Simmons summed it up best:

“It’s great. Now the vets know that they can count on us. When they feel nicked up and they’re not really feeling too well going into certain game plays, they know that they can count on us to take a few reps off of their backs and make sure that we get them to the postseason so that we can go ahead and win another Super Bowl.”

With the way this defense has played and the depth they possess, another Super Bowl is not out of the question.