If you’re not listening to Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright weeknights at 7 p.m. MT, you need to change your schedules - especially Monday nights when they have a Bronco “in studio” (at Buffalo Wild Wings in Park Meadows) to hang out and talk about the team, the games, the future, best wings sauce, etc.
It’s good stuff, and this week’s interview with Justin Simmons was no exception.
Simmons, who is having arguably his best year to date despite the team’s losing record, was full of insight about the Chargers’ win, Drew Lock’s start, Brandon McManus’ fire on the sidelines and the state of the team in general (hint: it’s all good).
On Drew Lock’s first game as an NFL quarterback:
“I was proud of him.
“The two guys coming into preseason with the most passion for the game were Drew and Dalton [Risner] - both rookies and roommates in Training Camp. ...I thought in the game Lock did a good job.
“The thing I loved the most was the passion he brought. He had that swag, and it just fired up the guys. When you see that, it makes you want to elevate your game. You want to do something on your end to match that excitement.
“When Brandon hit the game winner, I’m looking around, the crowd is roaring, and the first person I look at is Drew, and it’s like we just won a playoff home berth - you know like we won a game to play at Mile High. Really cool man. It just makes you want to play for someone like that.”
On sweeping the Chargers this season:
“One of things I enjoy the most about playing the Chargers is Chris Harris Jr. and Philip Rivers going the entire game. They need to mic that up.
“The biggest thing for us was executing our game plan in the second half.
“Rivers does such a great job finding what you do and exploiting it. In the first half, other than that play where ‘Ike’ [Isaac Yiadom] and I ran into each other and that post was there, they couldn’t get anything going. But they made their adjustments in the second half, and we had to adjust to their adjustments.
“Playing cleaner football in the second half is something we need to focus on, but I’m just really happy with the grit the team showed.
On the post play to Mike Williams:
“It was a “scissors concept” where Mike Williams is running the post and Hunter Henry is running a corner route, and we were basically in Cover 4. As a post/saftey and a corner, those routes typically offset. But
“Todd did such a good job jamming the tight end [Hunter Henry]. Henry was getting ready to shorten his route ... and typically when that happens, that’s the No. 1 target. So I was breaking downhill as Ike was leveling off and breaking uphill. The routes weren’t that offset, so it was just an unlucky play.
“I had to take the 7 and Ike had to take the post, and we knew it was coming and we just barely didn’t make it happen. The communication was great on the play; it was just the execution. When doing a scissors concept, you want to be on different levels, but Todd did such a good job jamming the tight end that he forced him to go faster, so I had to react faster and it all just got jumbled together.
“But I thought Ike played really well and made a lot of key tackles, and I was excited for him.”
On his 3rd-and-1 stop on Broncos’ 29 with 19 seconds left to set up Chargers’ FG:
“They ran a quick throw to the flat, which is pretty impossible to stop, especially if playing man because you have to work through so much traffic.
“You have to know that play is coming in order to stop it. We had been really good at studying film all week. I think the communication is getting a lot better, and it was just an pportunity where you’re there to make the play and you have to make it.
“If they get that first down, they’re working with 50 seconds left, and they already have the field goal so they’re taking shots at the end zone the rest of the game. They had a couple of good schemed up routes so who knows what would have happened if they had gotten that first down.”
*editor’s note: given the Broncos’ luck this season, I think we all know what would have happened ;)
On McManus not getting to kick for an NFL record
“You know at first I was like, ‘why would we try for a 65-yarder?’ But BMac is one of my closest friends on the team, and I asked him later, ‘did you really want to kick that?’ And he said, ‘If I get a shot and I make it, I’m in the NFL record book.’ So I respected that, and I was like, ‘yeah, you should have kicked it.’
[Hearing about Fangio’s comment that kicking a 65-yarder could mess with McManus’ mechanics] - “That’s a very Vic response.”
[Hearing McManus’ retort asking if it messes with a QB’s mechanics after a hail mary?] “That’s a very BMac response.”
2 1/2 years ago we all agonized over the Broncos releasing T.J. Ward...that one hurt like crazy. The move was made to give Justin Simmons a chance to develop. In hindsight, it looks like the correct move as JS has become one of the premier safeties in the NFL. #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/mNQxu7ji9K— Broncos Outsider (@BroncosOutside) December 3, 2019
On Vic Fangio, the defense:
“Man, he loves us. He cares for us. He coaches us hard. He loves us hard. We play our tails off for Vic and the whole staff.
“Something special is being built, man, and the only way it keeps going up is having that continuity, having the same guys around and the character that is being built in that locker room and the leaders that are growing. Something special is happening for sure.
On his contract:
“I watched a lot of Bears defense from last year - not even knowing we were going to get Vic but because Chicago was one of the best in the league and I’m always looking to see what I can pick up from my peers and add to elevate my game - and when I knew we were getting that staff here and implement that defense I knew it was going to be something special.
“Vic just has a legacy of taking players and elevating their games at every position. Having that at safety position - and during contract year - that was big for me.
“Denver has been home for me for four years. They took a chance on me, drafted me, trusted me (in letting T.J. Ward go and starting me). It won’t take much [to keep me here]. I just want it to work out on both sides.”
On Fangio saying Simmons would have a long career in Denver:
“It meant a lot, honestly. Vic is the type of guy who says what he means and means what he says. For him to say that, it means a lot for me. Being a first-year guy in his system, it shows a lot of trust in me.”
Allbright ended with a special message to John Elway: “Get a contract in front of this guy asap” - and I couldn’t agree more.