ENGLEWOOD — Amidst the chaos and the losses, there was a constant. No matter the coach, coordinator or venue, Justin Simmons was in the lineup. The Broncos' Iron Man has missed six snaps since the start of the 2018 season. Now, he will miss a minimum of four games after landing on the injured reserve list with a quad injury.
"Yeah unfortunately (I will miss time). I hurt it early in 2nd Q(uarter). I’ll be better than ever when I’m back,” Simmons told Denver7
The news was jarring. Most teammates were unaware he was hurt Monday night, and it surprised them to learn of his upcoming absence.
It's impossible to overstate Simmons' importance. He has been the Broncos' best player the past two seasons, earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.
“It’s hard to replace a guy like Justin Simmons,” strong safety Kareem Jackson said.
Added left tackle Garett Bolles, "I had no idea he was even hurt. He's so durable."
Simmons entered the season with enormous expectations. He has achieved individually, and earned, at the time, the biggest safety contract in NFL history. His vision was clear.
"Winning. That’s the only thing motivating me. My six years, going on year seven, I have never been in the playoffs. The closest I have been was 2016 the year after the Broncos won the Super Bowl. It’s crazy," Simmons said in an exclusive interview with Denver7 last week. "I have seen a lot of my colleagues I train with go on and play in the playoffs. I always feel like I am watching after the season, and it’s not a good feeling to have. So this year, it’s playoffs.”
The team must move forward without Simmons, a team captain, and leader of the secondary. Jackson is a strong voice and will be leaned on to help Caden Sterns, a second-year player from Texas in line to start in Simmons' absence.
"He's one of the best players in the league. My job is to go in there and not have any drop off," Sterns said. "I feel ready. It's an opportunity to make plays."
The Broncos added safety depth, signing former Vikings and Eagles veteran Anthony Harris to their practice squad. Harris has started 61 games and led the NFL with six interceptions in 2019. The Broncos also have a solid reserve in P.J. Locke, who delivered a strong training camp.
Denver promoted cornerback Essang Bassey to the active roster.
"Caden has played a lot of ball at a high level," Jackson said. "I expect him to step in and play great.”
Right guard Quinn Meinerz has a hamstring issue, but there is no plan to place him on the IR. That means he's expected to return in less than a month. ...
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made interesting comments regarding the victory against Russell Wilson on Seattle radio with Mike Salk and Brock Huard. "That's not validation. I wanted to win for all the reasons that come along with it. Maybe as much as anything representing the guys who played before," said Carroll, who responded thusly when asked why did it mean so much to them. "You figure that out."