Free safety Justin Simmons spoke in a press conference this afternoon following the Denver Broncos’ 3-day voluntary veteran minicamp. The event produced a few new contracts, including cornerback Blessuan Austin, wide receiver Trey Quinn, and cornerback Donnie Lewis.
“I thought it was needed,” Simmons said of minicamp, noting that the Broncos have a pretty new scheme to go over, with Eijiro Evero taking over as defensive coordinator and Nathaniel Hackett now as head coach instead of Vic Fangio. “I’ve said it before. Coach E’s (Evero) Cover 4 is going to be different than Coach Ed (Donatell) and Coach Vic.”
Simmons shared that the team was able to really get out there and compete against each other this week. “We miss football and we miss being around it,” he said, “It felt great just to be back on the field to just compete and enjoy these last three days.”
Asked what stood out to him about QB Russell Wilson, #31 admitted there wasn’t much that he didn’t expect, but added, “I love the battle within the battle—the game within the game. He’s back there and he’s really good with his hard counts and his cadence work.”
The safety said that Wilson’s play style has been great for fellow safety Kareem Jackson and himself, as well as the linebackers, with getting their timing down and not showing things too early or too late.
“He does a really good job controlling his pace. Sometimes they get up there and they quick snap. Sometimes they get up there and they hard count a few times,” he explained, “It’s good work for us. You can tell he’s back there analyzing and it’s great. I love that game, so it’s fun.”
Simmons feels that there is continuity in their defense, saying, “We’ve got a bunch of core guys that have been here for a while, so we know how—at least for the most part—each other thinks and how we see things develop.”
Inevitably, Simmons was asked about embracing the idea of winning the AFC West, and he made it clear that he believes the AFC West is the best division in football.
“The Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers and now us,” he went on, “We have ‘Russ’ and a bunch of additions: Randy Gregory (DE), D.J. Jones (DT), K’Waun (Williams, CB). I can go down the list of guys that we have. It’s going to be like primetime every single time an AFC West game is on.”
“You have to embrace it,” he continued, “Part of being a competitor is embracing the best parts of it. If you want to be the best, you have to go up against the best. We’re the best division.”
Ultimately, he said, being number one in their division is at the forefront of their minds. We’re in the best division. “We preach it every single day and how important it is to win the west. It’s going to be a great year.”
Finally, regarding the newly-announced Demaryius Thomas scholarship that Peyton Manning’s organization PeyBack partnered with Georgia Tech to create, Simmons spoke on how much Thomas means to Manning, and how this scholarship is a display of that.
“For him to take that step—for him and his family to take that step—and honor D.T., his family and all those kids that they are going to affect in D.T.’s hometown for years and years and years to come to go on to Georgia Tech with full scholarships or partial scholarships,” he said, “that, to me, is like the ultimate show of respect.”
As Simmons previously stated, the scholarships will be allotted specifically to incoming Georgia Tech freshmen from Laurens County, Georgia, the Super Bowl 50 champion’s hometown.
We are currently t-minus one day from the NFL Draft. I hope everybody gets a good night’s sleep tonight.