Even though only a quarter of the regular-season is over, those four games have revealed quite a bit about the 2017 Denver Broncos.

Those four games have revealed that when it comes to running the ball on offense — and stopping it on defense — the Broncos are significantly better at both than they were in 2016. They’ve revealed that the Broncos still know how to put a game on ice, even if it’s a little too close for comfort.

Perhaps most importantly, they have revealed the depth the Broncos possess on the defensive side of the ball. Their pass-rushing depth was tested before training camp even began; linebacker Shaquil Barrett was ruled out of all preseason activity with a hip injury, and, on the first day of camp, linebacker Shane Ray had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb.

Most recently, the Broncos put their faith in their depth at strong safety, when they made the decision to release veteran T.J. Ward and go with a combination of second-year safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks.

Both Parks and Simmons, also known as the ‘Baby No-Fly Zone’, showed why the Broncos have so much faith in them during Denver’s 16-10 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Simmons is the clear-cut starter in the slightly altered ‘No-Fly Zone’, but Parks made his presence known on Sunday by making five tackles in the victory. While Simmons was only responsible for one tackle against the Raiders, he was the one that put the game on ice by picking off E.J. Manuel’s pass that was intended for wide receiver Amari Cooper with just under two minutes to play.

Simmons’ interception was the only turnover of the game for either team, and it came at the the game’s biggest moment. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

“One of our young bulls stepped up like a vet in the clutch,” cornerback Aqib Talib said of Simmons’ interception after the game. “High-pointed the ball, you cannot do much better than that. So that is a big-time play by ‘J’ [Simmons].”

Because of Ward’s hard-hitting legacy, Simmons has been playing under a bit of a magnifying glass. Simmons will be the first to tell you that filling Ward’s role isn’t easy, and even after making the play that slammed the door shut on the Raiders’ shot at a comeback, Simmons made it known how big of an impact Ward had on his development as a player.

“There are obviously big expectations,” Simmons said after the game. “T.J. [Ward] was a huge mentor to me, and he was like a big brother, and so I wanted to do well — not only for Broncos Country, but for him as well. He helped me so much my first year and still to this day. I know it means a lot, and this has been such a prestigious organization at the safety position. Whether T.J. stayed or left, there would have been big shoes to fill regardless.”

Sealing the deal against the Oakland Raiders is a good way for Simmons to start carving out his own place in the organization, and he made sure to soak in the feeling when it was all said and done.

“It felt great. All game [long], I was just trying to be patient, play my role in the back end and get the ball down when it gets to me. I had to go attack the ball, whether it was thrown in the middle or up in the air, just high-point the ball and be [a] play-maker. The coaches trust me, my teammates trust me, and it was a great opportunity to make a play.”