Justin Simmons feels Broncos are “really close” to being playoff contenders

The Broncos have not made the playoffs since safety Justin Simmons joined the team as a 2016 third-round pick, but that did not stop him from pledging his future to the club this offseason.

Simmons signed a four-year contract extension in March and will be back as a key part of the team’s defense. He said on NFL Network Thursday that he believes that defense can be the best in the league and that the Broncos on a whole are positioned for a bid to end their five-year playoff drought.

“I feel like we’re really close,” Simmons said. “We’re finally having a year where we’re having coordinators come back and guys are familiar with the schemes and the systems, both on offense and defense and on special teams. I feel like we’re really close. I feel like this could be the year and I’m really excited for that. I’ve been itching for it ever since I came into the league — 9-7 is the closest I’ve been. And so I’m really looking forward to this season.”

One of the biggest obstacles that the Broncos have to clear in order to go from close to actually making the playoffs is finding a quarterback capable of playing at a high level on a consistent basis. Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater are the players in contention for the job this summer and the results of that battle will go a long way toward determining if Simmons gets his first taste of playoff football.