The No Fly Zone secondary is coming off a 2015 campaign that saw them rise to the pinnacle of their profession. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr., and Bradley Roby, along with starting safety duo T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart, are the most feared secondary in the National Football League.
As the Denver Broncos set about defending their World Championship, they've added new blood to the mix in the secondary, but don't expect that to translate to them taking a step backward.
"Those guys demand a level of excellence and a way to do things in the secondary," rookie safety Justin Simmons said Monday. "They are not going to let a couple of rookies come in and lower the bar. There is a standard already set, being that they are already the best secondary in the league. We have to come in and match that; not come in, feel it out and see how it goes. We have to come in and match that mindset, that mentality and get out there and compete."
Simmons was Denver's third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he has been seemingly joined at the hip with sixth-round safety Will Parks. Denver's front office views their rookie duo as their future at safety, but in the present, the young guns are learning the professional ropes, with the help of the veterans.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1688594-mhh-premium-how-you-can-s...“I’ve been with T.J. a lot this offseason," Will Parks said. "The one thing he kind of showed me without telling me is respecting what you’re around, respecting your atmosphere and respecting your culture and your environment. Whatever you’re around, just respecting it. You don’t always have to do it with words. Just being able to be around a certain type of vibe and how to adapt to it."
Simmons and Parks are well-aware that the onus is on them to raise their game to the standard already established by the No Fly Zone. As humbled as the rookies have been in their new environs, they're relishing the opportunity to compete in training camp and hopefully win a spot on Denver's 53-man roster.
"That's the goal—to come in and play," Simmons said. "It's not college. You don't redshirt. You don't just get to take a year and see how things work. It's a job now. You've got to come in and compete for those spots. If you're not (competing), the guy behind you is. That's definitely the goal to make sure I get out there by any means necessary."
By any means necessary.
Sound familiar? It was the mantra of the NFL's No. 1 defense last year. The ends certainly justified those means, as the Broncos hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February—thanks to their no-holds-barred defense.
It sounds like Simmons and Parks are going to fit in just fine with the No Fly Zone. They reported to camp Sunday, along with all of Denver's other rookies, and they've already learned a lot in their time during OTAs. Now they're champing at the bit, ready to mix it up and prove themselves.
“Right now, that’s what is about to go down," Parks said. "It’s about to get real. Definitely about to get real out there in training camp for the next five weeks and being able to respect what you’re doing—not only to respect it—but to be able to take it to the next level is one thing I consider that I definitely learned.”
Something tells me its going to be quite the experience monitoring Denver's rookie safety duo in their first training camp as pros.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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