Call it “No Fly Zone 2.0” Call it “No Fly Zone.” Call it whatever you want, Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons said on Wednesday, but know the philosophy behind it remains at Dove Valley.
Earlier this offseason there was much attention paid to whether the “No Fly Zone” exists after the Broncos traded cornerback Aqib Talib to the Los Angeles Rams.
With Talib, and safety T.J. Ward’s departure, some — including those two — argued the moniker no longer applied to the Denver secondary.
Late last month, Chris Harris Jr. — who, along with fellow “No Fly Zone” members Bradley Roby and Darian Stewart, remains with the Broncos — said he started the group, so “it’s going to always be here.”
But this week Simmons, entering his third year in the NFL, laid to rest the semantics, saying the “standard” of the “No Fly Zone” remains, regardless of what you call it.
“I’m not here to say that it’s here or it’s left, but I know the standard of the ‘No Fly Zone’ is staying because we expect nothing less than that standard that they have set,” Simmons said.
But, what does that mean?
On a surface level, it means being the most dominant passing defense in the NFL.
“They were consistently the best in the league as far as eliminating passing production from their opponents every single year,” Mark Schlereth, co-host of “Schlereth and Evans,” said on Thursday.
Since 2014, Denver’s defense has ranked no lower than ninth in the NFL in passing defense, ranking fourth last season and No. 1 in 2015 and 2016.
Digging deeper, however, Schlereth said it’s the position group’s approach to preparation that set it apart from the rest of the league.
“From a preparation standpoint, they were as prepared mentally as any football in the National Football League,” Schlereth said.
Schlereth added that the Broncos secondary, specifically under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, was bold enough to play the majority of the time in man coverage.
“They were asked to do something that most teams are scared to death of,” Schlereth said. “Most teams are scared because they don’t believe they have the talent to line up and say, ‘Come get some.’
“The Broncos would line up in man 90 percent of the time under Wade Phillips and say, ‘Come get a taste.’”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.