For the first time during John Elway’s tenure, the Denver Broncos failed to reach a long-term contract agreement with a player they franchise tagged. It’s not that they don’t want to sign Justin Simmons long-term, but rather the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is likely the bigger culprit here.
Simmons met with the media last week for the first time since the July 15th deadline came and went. Throughout the entire interview, it was the final question that stuck out to me. He was asked how he could improve his game heading into this season. His answer covered a lot of ground and the ground he covered was the little things most people likely didn’t notice last year.
“There’s a lot of times I put myself in a great position to make a lot of plays, but there’s also a lot of things that I’ve missed,” Simmons said. “You may not see it on the surface of things, but like I said, if I miss something it causes a linebacker maybe to be a little bit misaligned, it causes a gap to be opened when it shouldn’t be, it may cause a misunderstanding between the communication between myself and a corner. I think there’s no doubt about it.
“We’ve seen—we’ll be great defensively then they’ll be that one great play that we would see consistently throughout kind of like the tail end of the season. Those are the types of things that I’m talking about from a leadership perspective. No pointing the fingers but the communication starts with the secondary and with the safeties. I take full responsibility of those types of things happening, both Kareem and I. Those are the things that I’m talking about that I know I can elevate to take it to another level and taking that responsibility of getting guys in the right place, making sure we have the right checks, being the coach on the field. Those are the expectations that I have for myself.”
Simmons under year two in Vic Fangio’s system is poised to join the ranks of the best of the best at his position. Denver will likely regret not locking him down long-term come next season, but they’ll still probably get him signed.
I’m personally excited to see him play this year. That defense should be fun to watch.