One of the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s game between the Broncos and Dolphins was how the Denver defense would fare without All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib, who was suspended one game by the NFL for his part in an on-field fight with Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree last week.

Against the Dolphins, starting in place of the suspended Talib was cornerback Bradley Roby, the Broncos’ former first round draft pick who usually starts in the nickel corner slot.

Roby played well in his first chance to start as an outside cornerback. Lined up opposite All-Pro Chris Harris Jr., Roby and Harris were tasked with covering the Dolphins’ up-and-coming receiving duo of Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry.

While the Broncos eventually lost the game, 35-9 against the now 5-7 Dolphins, Roby’s play showed promise for the depth the Broncos have at the position and what their secondary might look like heading into the future.

Roby was targeted twice on the Dolphins’ first two drives, both of which resulted in incompletions.

Roby continued to contain Stills throughout most of the game, but his best play came in the third quarter. As the Dolphins offense was marching down the field, they lined up Stills int he slot, away from Roby. Stills broke free of the Broncos’ zone coverage and caught a quick pass from quarterback Jay Cutler. As Stills looked to set the Dolphins up in the red zone, Roby closed in on Stills and punched the ball out of the Stills’ arm, forcing a fumble the Broncos would recover.

Roby continued to display his versatile skills, breaking up another long pass intended for Stills late in the third quarter.

Roby’s play had often been seen as a good complement to the All-Pro tandem of Talib and Harris. Sunday, Roby got the opportunity to show he can be more than a complementary piece, and he took full advantage of it.

There were moments in the game when Roby showed flashes of becoming a player of Talib’s caliber. Against both Stills and Landry, Roby was able to shadow the receiver one-on-one, get his head turned and make a play on the ball – just like Talib would have.

Two weeks ago, Roby had one of the worst games of his career against the Cincinnati Bengals, who exploited his coverage abilities by lining up six-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green with Roby wherever he was on the field. Green went for 10 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Roby seems to have turned a corner, holding his own in his first start at cornerback. There has been much speculation as to the future of the Broncos’ secondary pertaining to whether they choose to retain Talib after yet another on-field incident.

Talib has just $1 million in dead cap money on his contract in 2018. This suspension marks his second in three seasons. He will turn 32 this offseason. As John Elway tries to rebuild a team that won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, the additional $11 million the Broncos would save on Talib could be put to use elsewhere.

Should the Broncos choose to part ways with Talib, Roby may have instilled some confidence for the Broncos to go that route.