Reviewing the names of the Denver Broncos secondary can turn from a simple reading-over to realizing the embarrassment of riches the team has.
Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib manning the islands at cornerback, Darian Stewart patrolling the deep parts of the field at free safety, the whirling dervish-enforcer at strong safety that is T.J. Ward. Mixing speed, savviness, smarts and ferocity, the four players have quickly risen to the forefront of the NFL as one of the premier defensive units in the league.
However, the player that frequently gets left out when mentioning the No Fly Zone is third-year cornerback, Bradley Roby. In today’s NFL, where multiple receiver sets and passing-heavy offenses are the norm, Roby is on the field for almost half of the defensive snaps. Playing as the nickel defensive back last year, the player wearing number 29 had a solid season, totaling 34 tackles, one forced fumble, a sack and one interception.
During the march to the Super Bowl, Roby would step up his level of play to a new plateau. The young cornerback would be a huge contributor during the playoff run with a crucial forced fumble against Pittsburgh in the Divisional round.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1688594-mhh-premium-how-you-can-s... Continuing to show a penchant for the big play, Roby would also have a huge Tom Brady interception off a deflection on a two-point conversion that would essentially punch Denver’s ticket to Super Bowl 50.
Entering the 2016 season, Roby looks build on his apprenticeship the past two seasons and step into the starting lineup for Aqib Talib, who may be looking at a lengthy suspension to start the season. When asked how he felt going into this year’s training camp, he talked about his comfort-level in Denver's scheme,
“I’m way more comfortable this year on just the wordage and the verbiage on the plays," Roby said. "I know all the plays this year. It’s not really learning now. It’s more about keeping it crisp and teaching the young guys.”
It is well noted that training camp, especially for veterans, can be monotonous. Running the same plays against fellow teammates can make camp seem like “Groundhog Day”. Despite the drudgery, Roby is still making sure to keep the mental side of the game as sharp as the physical, knowing that both need to work seamlessly with each other.
When asked to compare himself to the player he was as a rookie, he responded with confidence.
“I think I’m a way better player than I was my rookie year," he said. "I am way better technique-wise, understand the game better and am more confident. I look forward to this year to see how I develop and to show the work that I’ve been putting in.”
When asked about his own goals for the upcoming year, the now-veteran cornerback replied modestly.
“I just want to worry about the team right now," Roby sasid. "I really just want the team to gel well. We have a lot of doubters about how the defense will look, so I just want to do my part to pick it up and set a standard for how we should play.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1694079-schefter-expect-a-lengthy... Preferring to use his play on the field do to his talking for him, Roby sounds the part of a self-assured, focused football player—a far cry from the same player who dropped in the NFL Draft due to perceived character concerns.
Although he understands that football is a team game, Roby is by no means resting on his laurels. Seemingly more matured, Roby is better equipped to try and fill the shoes of Aqib Talib, if indeed the Pro Bowl cornerback is suspended for a lengthy period of time.
The vaunted Denver defense reached a height of success that few teams have ever matched or exceeded. With a new season comes the challenge of repeating as Champions, as well as the internal issues, like who will be the staring quarterback and the prospect of losing a player of Talib’s caliber for a large portion of the season.
With all of those ideas swirling about, don’t look for the defense—and in particular Bradley Roby—to get caught up resting on the accomplishments from last season. It is always refreshing to find a player in the mold of Roby.
Although he has already accomplished much in the league, Roby is still looking to find ways to elevate his own play and raise the level of the defense as a whole. Seemingly not content to be the fifth wheel in the No Fly Zone, Roby is now being set up to carve out his place among the Denver secondary this season.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
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