Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons will miss at least the next four games after being placed on injured reserve with a quad injury.
Denver will now turn to Caden Sterns in the secondary.
The second-year safety started two games last year in the place of an injured Kareem Jackson, and he was a rotational defensive back before that. As a rookie last season, Sterns totaled 28 tackles, five pass breakups, two interceptions and two sacks.
Jackson said Wednesday that it’s hard to replace someone like Simmons, but he’s confident in Sterns.
“We pride ourselves on having the next guy available and ready,” Jackson said. “Caden Sterns has played a ton of ball in this league in such a short time, so I think he’s very ready for the situation and the opportunity. I think he’ll come in and I think he’ll play great.”
Sterns is expected to start across from Jackson against the Houston Texans on Sunday. P.J. Locke will also be available to rotate in on defense.
“He’s a smart player,” Jackson said of Sterns. “We’ve used him in a bunch of different roles. For him to step in and play safety, he did it a little bit for me last year when I was out, so like I said, he has a ton of experience. I expect him to step in and play great.”
With Jackson scheduled to become a free agent next year, Sterns could eventually become a full-time starter for the Broncos. Fans will now get a four-game look at the young defensive back in a starting role.