Justin Simmons is healthy and ready to step up this season. The Denver Broncos safety is looking to make an impact in his new starting role and keep the brand of the “No Fly Zone” intact, but knows that players like Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward have left some big shoes to fill.

“Going back to back, number one passing defense, there’s no replacing someone like T.J. and Aqib,” Simmons told the media Wednesday.

“But, (CB) Chris (Harris Jr.), (CB Bradley) Roby and ‘Stew’ (S Darian Stewart) were also there (and) a part of that run. They know what the standard is to uphold as far as the ‘No Fly Zone’ goes. Obviously there has been talks about with T.J. and Aqib being gone about the ‘No Fly Zone’ kind of disbanding and it being gone.”

“I’m not here to say that it’s here or it’s left, but I know the standard of the ‘No Fly Zone’ is staying because we expect nothing less than that standard that they have set,” Simmons continued. “You can call it what you want, ‘No Fly Zone 2.0,’ ‘No Fly Zone’ or you can call it something totally different. But that standard, that mindset, still stays the same.”

Simmons’ season was cut short in 2017 after spraining his ankle in a 23-0 victory over the Jets on Dec. 10. The third-year safety out of Boston College is hoping to make up for that lost time in 2018.

Simmons explained that the most frustrating part of going down with the ankle injury is he could have played if the team had been in contention, but with the playoffs well out of reach, the team was not going to unnecessarily risk anything.

“I think for sure I could’ve played,” Simmons said. “I felt fine. Obviously not 100 percent, but if that was a playoff game I would’ve been okay.”

Along with preparing for his new role within the defense, Simmons is also getting familiar with his newest teammates, including Su’a Cravens. Cravens, 22, was traded to the Broncos in late March for draft considerations. In the early OTA periods, Cravens has impressed according to Simmons.

” Su’a (Cravens) has been awesome,” Simmons said.

Simmons explained that the Cravens’ versatility allows the Broncos to explore a variety of defensive looks because the mobile young defender can line up at safety or come down by the line of scrimmage in dime and nickel packages.

“He’s already picking up the defense. He knows it well and he’s making his checks,” Simmons said. “Su’a has already seemed like he’s a day one guy since he’s been here. I’m really excited to have him.”