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Broncos' defense is full of playmakers...because that's how they practice

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Second-year cornerback Bradley Roby loves the way this defense plays exciting football - "It's like an offense, man."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you want a hard-nosed, stuff-the-offense kind of defense, you think '85 Bears or the Steel Curtain of the 70s.

For a secondary that could best the top offense in history, you recall the 2013 Seahawks (ugh).

But if you want an exciting, play-making, heart-stopping kind of defense, you know the 2015-16 Broncos are your group. It's so versatile that it cannot even have one name - Orange Crush for the defensive line; Orange Rush for the pass rushers and No Fly Zone for the secondary.

Some purists may not prefer that, but Bradley Roby loves it.

In fact, just thinking about how some of the Broncos games have ended on big-play defensive stops this year gets him excited.

"I mean, a TWO-POINT conversion on Tom Brady [in the AFC championship]?" Roby says in a voice that reminds me to locate a defibrillator in the press room before the Super Bowl begins. "It's more like an offense, you know what I'm sayin? We're bringing a new aspect to the game."

As a second-year cornerback for this No. 1 Broncos defense, Roby just thinks it fits the players' talents and personalities. Though he is not a starter, he regularly rotates in and has been a definite playmaker, responsible for several of the improbable wins at the end of the game.

Three of them, he reminds me - the scoop-and-run go-ahead touchdown against the Chiefs in Week 2, a forced fumble against the Steelers in the divisional playoff game, and an "interception" following a tipped ball from Aqib Talib to thwart a two-point conversion attempt by the Patriots in the AFC championship.

We've had a high accountability level this year. Everybody's making plays. But we practice those plays.  -Kayvon Webster, cornerback/ST

"I just need one more," he says.

Broncos Country would be fine with that, I tell him.

"I'm always thinking about making big plays. Always. I'm always seeing myself getting interceptions, knocking out balls, picking up balls," Roby says. "So it's like I'm thinking about it so much when I'm on the field, I'm expecting it to happen."

And this remains true of all the defensive players. Kayvon Webster, another backup corner and a Special Teams ace of late, calls it "contagious."

"We had a high accountability level this year," Webster says. "Everybody's been making plays. When I get out there I don't want to be the missing piece, so I'm making sure I'm tuned in and focused. We practice those plays."

The anticipation for big plays and the accountability of teammates is a huge part of this defense's success, Roby says, because when the defense is down or some guys aren't making the plays they should, they get on each other.

"You have to," Roby says, adding that the bond among the group makes it easy. "If some guys are down, if some guys are not bringing the energy, we can feel someone is not in tune, not focused."

'Pick your sh*t up, man.' For real. We don't have time to be bull-sh*tting.  -Brad Roby on how teammates rally each other

So how do you rally your teammates?

"Pick your shit up, man," Roby says. "For real. We don't have time to be bull-shitting."

And he is for real, just like this defense.

But just like it's not one player who makes all the big plays, it's not one player who rallies the team. They all do and in different ways.

"It could be T.J. or D-Ware or Aqib," Roby says, adding that Von Miller is more of an example guy. "Von is more the 'I'm gonna show you rather than yell at you.' You know, 'I'm about to go get two sacks in a row' kind of guy."

Come Sunday, these guys know the game could come down to them - and they hope it will.

"We've proven that when everything is on the line," Roby says, "we will make plays and win the game."

Maybe Roby will get his "one more" on Sunday.