BRONCOS

Three biggest takeaways from the Justin Simmons press conference

Apr 14, 2022, 6:55 AM
MINNEAPOLIS , MN - AUGUST 14: Justin Simmons (31) of the Denver Broncos roams the sidelines during ...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos opened their doors once again at UC Health Training Center. The offseason workout program began on Monday, so on Tuesday the media was allowed into the facility to talk to a couple of leaders on the team.

After Courtland Sutton, veteran safety Justin Simmons stepped up to the podium. His answers are always good and thoughtful, and Tuesday was no different. Simmons sounded excited about the new year, and he certainly didn’t waste any time getting to know his new teammates on film after they were signed.

“I’ve sat down and watched them (D.J. Jones, Randy Gregory, K’Wuan Williams) play, and I’m a big fan of the way they play football. I’m excited, and it’s going to be great competition going up against Russell Wilson in practice,” Simmons said.

Here are the three biggest observations from Simmons press conference.

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Language Barrier

The defense is going to look different this year, but not that much different according to Simmons. As he said at his presser, “cover 4 is cover 4,” and that’s true. Things are going to be similar in terms of how the team lines up and the type of defense they play. I believe they will still be a zone-heavy defense, although I do believe (and hope) they will blitz more often than they did under former head coach Vic Fangio.
T
he biggest difference between any team – offense or defense – is language. Coverages and the same no matter where you go, but they may be called something different.

Simmons is especially important in this department. As a safety, he can play the quarterback of the defense. Simmons is bright and knows where to put his players around him to make the best plays. Now, he’ll be telling them what to do in a different way.

The Broncos defense will learn this new language, and the studying begins this week. It takes time to learn a new language in football. There may be some hiccups in the regular season, but the defense is going to have things down by the time training camp is done in August.

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Culture Club

The Broncos have experienced a culture change under new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. I’m not going to slam on the old ways of Fangio, that’s in the past. I’ll just comment on the culture under Hackett – and that’s going to be a culture of energy.

Hackett is a high-energy guy himself, and he brings that same attitude to his team. He cares about his players, and he wants to make sure they have fun and are energized to be there as well. In addition to energy, Hackett is a teacher – in addition to be a coach. A lot of “old school” coaches are just coaches who coach the players. Hackett is a teacher who teaches his players as he coaches them. Does that make sense? It does when you think about it.

Simmons doesn’t know a winning culture. A third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the safety has only had one winning season during his pro career, and he’s never made the playoffs. He’ll get up to speed quickly on winning football as the Broncos should make a playoff push this season.

The most successful teams in the NFL have strong cultures, and that’s what Hackett is trying to build with this team. Simmons is going to be an integral part of the Broncos adopting this new culture and really taking it to heart. The results will be found on the football field.

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Fan from Afar

It sounds like quarterback Russell Wilson is a fan of FaceTime over phone calls or text. Simmons, in addition to Sutton (and other players), commented that Wilson hit him up on FaceTime a few days after he was traded to the Broncos.

Wilson, like Peyton Manning years ago, is a fan of the game of football. I was fascinated when Simmons said that Wilson had been a fan of the Broncos from afar. He’s a football junkie, and he certainly knows the type of talent it takes to win a Super Bowl.

Many think the Broncos are not in a championship window just yet. I say hogwash. I think Wilson would say the same thing. The Broncos have more talent than some think – and Wilson knows this.

Wilson picked the Broncos. He no longer must be a fan from afar. Instead, Wilson gets to run the show for the Broncos in 2022 and beyond. It’s now time for the players Wilson watched when he was in Seattle to come through for him so the Broncos can push for a Super Bowl this season. Waiting until next year is something the Denver Nuggets do. The Broncos can make a run in 2022 and for years after that because of Wilson.

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