Englewood, Colo. Aqib Talib is still at the top of his game. Only, he finds himself often overshadowed by fellow University of Kansas alum Chris Harris Jr.
Both of the Denver Broncos’ starting cornerbacks had Pro Bowl seasons in 2014, each collecting 17 pass breakups, a sack and a forced fumble.
Talib had eight more tackles (63 to 55) and four interceptions to Harris’ three.
But Harris led the league in opposing quarterback’s passer rating against him (47.8) and didn’t allow a single touchdown in 2014 — and all just months after recovering from a torn ACL.
“It’s great for me, man. I love it, man,” Talib said. “That’s my little brother, you know what I’m saying? It’s like my little brother getting the recognition that he deserves. Long awaited. So, I’m as happy for him as anybody.
“I’m fixing to play Year 8. I’ve had all that. I’ve had the hype and all that. Let Chris get it. Let me chill a little bit, you know? Let me chill a little bit and let Chris get all that attention that he deserves.”
With Harris sitting out Saturday’s full-pads practice after tweaking a hamstring, Talib was the one in the spotlight again.
He cut in front of Bubba Caldwell to pick off Peyton Manning’s pass, then didn’t break stride on his way to the end zone.
Only, cornerback Bradley Roby was whistled for being offside.
“Oh well, it’s practice,” Talib said. “So, it’ll still go on the pick board in the room. So, I can’t complain. I’ll let coach worry about that.”
Talib is clearly one of the biggest fans of Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme that emphasizes man coverage while turning loose pass-rushers Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and rookie Shane Ray.
Talib likes the way Phillips has simplified things, too.
“Oh, it’s been wonderful. His defense is straight to the point. Not a lot of thinking but a lot of playing. So, it helps out our whole defense, it allows us to play fast,” he said.
Add in Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward and newcomer Darian Stewart and Talib believes this secondary could surpass Seattle’s as the league’s best in 2015.
“I don’t feel like we were too far last year. At the end of the year we graded out pretty good. But we want to grade out as the top secondary in the league this year as far as interceptions, yards, all that stuff,” Talib said. “So, with this defense, man, we definitely have a chance to do that.”