The Denver Broncos arguably have the NFL’s top defense, and they’ve accomplished that feat despite being without Justin Simmons, and also suffering stretches of play without Josey Jewell and, now, D.J. Jones.

They’ve managed to stay on top though thanks to the play of a few key reserve players, namely Caden Sterns, P.J. Locke and Mike Purcell.

“I mean, it’s what he did last year and then being around him, seeing how he prepares and seeing what he does on the practice field,” defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said of Sterns’ play so far this season. “He had a really good training camp, so his whole body of work since he’s been in the pros and since I’ve been around him has been really outstanding.”

With Sterns stepping up to start next to Kareem Jackson, P.J. Locke has said to step up and take on the responsibility of playing as the dime defender, and he’s done a wonderful job.

“The thing that I appreciate about [S] P.J. [Locke] is that he’s always ready,” Evero said on Thursday. “Whatever role you assign to him, he’s going to work his butt off, and he’s going to study and work as hard as anybody to get himself ready for the opportunity. It was really good because most of camp, he was playing the safety position and getting him in at dime—the dime linebacker position—and doing some of those things, he does a good job.”

The last reserve to earn Evero’s praise on Thursday was Mike Purcell, who had his best performance of the season on Sunday night, and who might be asked to fill in for D.J. Jones on Sunday.

I go way back with [DL] Mike [Purcell],” Evero told the media. “We were both in San Francisco together, so I’ve known him for a long time, known the ability he has, the character he has, the professional he is. It’s great to have a guy you know you can put him in there, like you said, even coming off of the bench. He can fill in all of the spots and he can be a high-level player—really be a starter-like player—when he gets into those positions.”

If the Broncos can continue to get strong performances like these from their reserves, it should be enough to carry them past the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.