Matchup No. 2: Dorian Thompson-Robinson vs Justin Simmons
The Broncos defense has caused 19 turnovers this season, which puts them in a tie for second place in the league. But it's not just the volume of their turnovers, it's when and where those turnovers have occurred that stand out. Out of those 19 turnovers, 10 are interceptions, and of those 10 interceptions six have occurred in the red zone. That's the most red zone interceptions by any defense in the league this season.
This is an opportunistic, bend but don't break, defensive unit in Denver. That charge is led by Justin Simmons. On the season, Simmons leads the Broncos in interceptions with three. While that may not seem like a daunting number of picks, over the course of his career, Simmons has proved to be an absolute ball hawk with 30 interceptions in his eight seasons in the league.
For rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson keeping tabs on Simmons is a must this week. Simmons has the range to change the post snap picture for DTR. Asking a rookie in his third start to not only go through his progressions but also manipulate Simmons with his eyes is a lofty objective.
In his second career start, DTR was hesitant to push the ball down the field and test the Steelers' defense vertically. The game plan this week should be somewhat similar, but the rookie has to trust his eyes and take shots if they are there in his progression. However, there is a fine line between taking what is there and being baited, a lesson all young quarterbacks must learn to have sustained success in the league. Can DTR walk that tightrope against Simmons and this Broncos' defense?