Justin Simmons and the Broncos’ D are ready to continue Zach Wilson’s slump

Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons (31) tackles New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during the second half at MetLife Stadium.
Sep 12, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons (31) tackles New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 2, the Denver Broncos star-studded defense overwhelmed and consumed Trevor Lawrence, leading to a poor performance from the prodigal son of quarterbacking.

The defense constantly placed Lawrence pressure and baffled him with complex, disguised coverages. It was the type of game a superstar safety like Justin Simmons lives for, which is why he loves playing rookie quarterbacks, he said.

“I guess the confusion [is my favorite part of playing a rookie quarterback], especially with Vic [Fangio]’s defense,” Simmons told the media on Wednesday. “A lot of the time, we’re giving you the look that you’re seeing, and a lot of time, we’re not. I think that’s part of the game. I always talk about it—the game within the game. Obviously, we play the game of football, but there’s that quarterback-safety battle where you’re trying to give him false information, so he doesn’t know pre-snap where he’s going to go with the football. All that sounds great, but you have to have the guys to be able to do it. Our pass rush is great, we have great linebacker play, and great d-lineman to stop the run to get us in third-and-long situations and things like that. All of that is encompassing to playing great defense. It’s not solely up to one guy to be able to make that happen. I’m looking forward to continuing it on Sunday.”

One can assume that feeling runs strong among the defenders in Denver’s locker room. After facing the inexperienced and marooned Lawrence, the Broncos now get to face another rookie quarterback — Zach Wilson.

Wilson is coming off a ghastly performance against another defensive maestro — Bill Belichick — in which he threw four interceptions in his first 10 attempts.

That’s a cold streak Simmons and Co. want to maintain.

“The mentality for us is we don’t want to be the team that gets him out of his slump,” Simmons said. “We kind of want to make sure that whatever team they’re playing the next week, they [reference] the game he had the week before the game against Denver, and it’s our turn to take advantage of that. Defensively for us, it’s the same mentality every week, though. We’re just excited to go out there and compete. Like I said, the biggest thing for us is we want to make sure we’re asserting dominance. We’re back on our home field. The crowd is going to be there. It’s going to be electric, and we want to definitely give our fans a show on Sunday.”

While the first-round rookies of the Jets and Jaguars are suffering through their respective struggles, Denver’s first-rounder, Patrick Surtain II, is thriving. Against Lawrence, Surtain came down with his first-career interception, thanks to some impressive acrobatics.

That interception was more than enough to wow Simmons.

“[It was] super impressive,” the veteran safety said of the takeaway. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised, but just impressed. My biggest thing is getting the two feet down. He’s already tracking the football, leaning on the receiver, making sure that he cuts out as much room as possible if there is a misjudge on the football in terms of reading it. Then he still has the awareness of where he was on the sideline to get both feet down before any other body parts touched out of bounds. So yeah, that was impressive. [I’m] Looking forward to more plays like that from him”

Aren’t we all?

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