Justin Simmons return gives Broncos a unique problem in secondary

Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos will have a unique problem on their hands in Week 6 of the 2022 NFL season as safety Justin Simmons makes his way back to the field following a four-week stint on injured reserve. The problem? Thankfully for the Broncos, it’s not a bad problem, by any means. It’s actually a very-much welcomed, breath of fresh air kind of problem.

The Broncos have a ton of great depth at the safety position, and with Simmons coming back from IR, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will have options galore on the back end. Simmons’ return is coming on the heels of a two-interception performance from second-year safety Caden Sterns. Simmons’ return is also coupled with the likely return of PJ Locke, who has played well this season when healthy and forced a fumble in the Broncos’ win against the 49ers.

Denver Broncos have tons of personnel options with Justin Simmons back

Kareem Jackson has been playing well this season as well, to nobody’s surprise. So what is Ejiro Evero to do? How can you let Caden Sterns ride the pine? How can you not play PJ Locke?

Luckily, against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Broncos will have plenty of opportunities to work with a variety of personnel. They are facing off against a team featuring Austin Ekeler at the running back position where the dime defense may be prominently featured, allowing players like Sterns and Locke to see the field plenty even with Simmons coming back and playing 100 percent of the snaps, which he typically does.

It’s a great problem to have because the Broncos have recently suffered a pretty tough blow to the secondary, losing starting cornerback Ronald Darby for the season with a torn ACL. That injury certainly paves the way for players like Damarri Mathis and Michael Ojemudia (also practicing again) to step up but could we also see some reps of Caden Sterns at corner or nickel?

PJ Locke played nickel at Texas and did some of that in the preseason for the Broncos, so could we see more of him in that spot?

The Broncos are anything but fully stocked on the roster at the moment. There are a ton of notable players still on injured reserve but with some of the players coming back in Week 6, Denver will have options and they should take the opportunity to do some exploration while they have it.

With Pat Surtain II on one side of the field, why not? You’ve got to find ways to get your best 11 guys out there on the field at all times, and right now, Caden Sterns and even PJ Locke have to be considered among or very close to that group.