Justin Simmons: I don’t take my defensive responsibilities lightly

The Broncos’ offseason changes included firing head coach Vic Fangio, but neither that departure nor the subsequent hiring of Ejiro Evero as defensive coordinator will change much for safety Justin Simmons.

Simmons and fellow safety Kareem Jackson held a lot of responsibility for setting the defense under Fangio and Simmons said that this year’s approach is going to be a similar one. That leaves a lot on Simmons’ plate and he said he’s comfortable with having that kind of weight on his shoulders.

“I embrace it,” Simmons said, via Jon Heath of USAToday.com. “I welcome it, and I challenge myself. That’s what Kareem and I get paid to do. We have to make sure that we find ways to win the down — whatever it looks like. There will be times when it’ll be put on Pat [Surtain] to win a one-on-one on the outside. There will be times when it’ll be put on Kareem and me to make the right checks. When it comes down to it, no excuses. We’re the ones being handed the tools and the weapons to be successful, and it’s our job. I’ve talked about it multiple times last year in a similar defense with Vic. Any of the lapses that were happening in the back end — that’s my responsibility as a safety. Anything that’s happening top down, that directly falls on my plate. I don’t take that lightly.”

While much attention has been paid to Russell Wilson‘s arrival this offseason, Simmons said in April that he believes the Broncos’ chances of competing will come down to how well the defense performs. If it performs well, Simmons’ prominent role will likely leave him in line for accolades come the end of the year.