“We’re all ready to work and be legendary”

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado. Denver Broncos’ Free Safety Darian Stewart and Strong Safety TJ Ward met with the press today.  While they had the utmost admiration for former Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips, they are happy that Joe Woods was tapped to step up.  With the additions of Defensive Backs Coach Marcus Robertson and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Johnnie Lynn, Stuart had this to say, “A lot of smarts. I think we just added another level to our room, just helping us make more plays—strong minds in the room. I think that we’re going to be able to do some great things with adding them to the bunch.”

While it was tough on Stuart missing out on the playoff last season, he was looking forward. “That’s a thing of the past. It’s a new year. We got a new coaching staff. Like I said, great minds offensively and defensively. We already got everybody in place. We look to add a couple in the draft, but I think everyone is here and ready to go.”

When it came to having a defensive minded Head Coach in Vance Joseph he was appreciative of an additional mind, “It’s great just having an extra guy giving us input. Like I said, we have a lot of them in there—Joe Woods, Johnnie Lynn, M-Rob [Defensive Backs Coach Marcus Robertson]. We could go to either guy and get info.”

A common theme from both safeties and all the defensive players who’ve spoken is the luxury of having so many of the group still be together going on three years. Because of it, “you can count on those guys.” Just our friendship. Just us being closer. Having three years together, you really don’t see that a lot, especially having the years we have under our belts. It’s going to be a lot of plays made just us being comfortable with one another, and then adding a new coaching staff

“Back to the basics, technique and assignments. Just getting familiar with the playbook. We’re all ready to work and be legendary, be top three and lead the league three years straight. It’s our mindset so we’re ready to go.Stay hungry. That’s always been my mindset. I’m not going to deter from it. ”

Justin Simmons was drafted to some day be Stuart’s replacement. He said this about Simmons and fellow second year safety Will Parks, “In that second year, you’re more comfortable. You’re like a vet. I think the game is going to slow down a lot for him and [S] Will [Parks]. They always have us for help. We’re always open to help and it’s going to be a great year. I’m expecting him to make a lot of plays.”

Stuart touched on a common theme from the last two weeks of reinforcing the run defense and it having been a weak link last season. “That was our weakest point last year, so that was biggest point of emphasis. Just to get that right. I think we got some good guys that would help us fill that role. Again, going to the draft and looking for guys, too.”

When asked about cornerback Aqib Talib he had this to say, “You can’t replace Talib. He’s a hell of a player, an All-Pro player year in and year out. He’s a guy we count on week in and week out. If you want some honesty, go to Talib. Go to Talib. He’s a straight-shooter. That’s one thing you respect about him. He’s not going to sugar coat nothing or beat around the bush. He’s going to tell you and he’s going to be honest with you. That’s all you can ask of somebody: Be honest.”

He and fellow Safety Ward are both in contract years.
“Me and Talib had a lot of talks. I would say the biggest thing is the contract situation. Just dealing with it, I never really had this much money on the table. I asked Talib and he gave me his input, and I took it and ran with it. He told me, ‘Tomorrow is not promised.’ That’s the best advice I could have had.”

“That [Pro Bowl] was big. That’s something that we all work for, year in and year out in the offseason. This year is All-Pro. That’s my goal. I’m never satisfied. I’m always working to be great. Like I said, we have coaching staff in the room that will always bring those guys up because I really feel like those guys there will take us to the next level. We’re ready to work.”

Safety T.J. Ward had this to say when he was asked about this off season and the previous one after winning the World Championship, “It’s the exact opposite. In the dungeon, grinding. As soon as the Super Bowl was over, I started working out and trying to make this season a lot better than last year because not going to the playoffs, it hurt after going winning the Super Bowl. I know everybody on this team came back ready for that not to happen again. I can just see it guys’ demeanor, the way they are working and their attitudes. It kind of reminds me of those Super Bowl season.”

 

It was good to hear him talk about back-up CB Bradley Roby as another leader in the locker room. “He’s going into his fourth year, so he’s like a vet. He’s not little Roby anymore. He’s like ‘Roby.’ He’s been here and he’s done that, so let’s go. It’s like having three starters. This is just so exciting just coming into this atmosphere and this situation with the whole ‘No Fly’ coming back.

This is Ward’s last season on his contract. He didn’t mention if he too had spoke with Talib, but he wanted to stay away from the topic and let his agent deal with it. He believed if he put his ” A+ effort in, then everything will happen the right way.”

Like every Broncos fan, we’d have loved to see the team in DC. “I would definitely prefer to be at the White House, but you know, when you don’t go to the White House, you have to go to the dungeon (laughing) Until we’re back at the White House, I’ll be in the dungeon.”

TJ’s cousin, RB Terrell Ward, plays for the Atlanta Falcons, so it was an emotional for the family having them go back-to-back for the big show. “It was pretty amazing. I wish he would have been active because it would have been good to see him get suited up and go out there. But, unfortunately, they took an ‘L’ and they have to work on another one just like everybody else this year.”

Ward echoed what all the defensive players have said. That three years of working together have them knowing the ins and outs of each other and they are of one mindset. “You don’t have to have a guy out there telling this guy what to do or this guy what to do on this play or that play. Everybody is locked in. They know what they do. As long as you communicate, even if you get a late communication, guys know that I’m not at this position that I’m usually at, but I know what this guy does, and I can feel it. That’s what we have.”

When it came to the Raiders, Ward gave the refrain we all like to hear, “I don’t like the Raiders. I kind of celebrated a little bit, laughed at their fans . After what happened last year, they were killing my Twitter, killing my IG, so after they moved, I had to poke a little fun. It’s kind of a sad time for the Bay Area. There’s a lot going on. The city is changing a lot between San Francisco and Oakland. The Warriors are moving to San Francisco. Oakland are moving out, so Oakland is going to be pretty dry. It is what it is. I’m from San Francisco, so I’m happy.”

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