The message did not need interpreting. Denver Broncos general manager John Elway put down a challenge to his team when he told a local radio station earlier this week that his players had to have them mentality like they’re fighting for their lives on the field.
Elway’s words came after Denver’s fourth straight loss and second in a row at home, a place where visiting teams used to struggle. Watching two teams have running backs rush for more than 200 yards in consecutive weeks apparently motivated the Hall of Famer to speak up.
The players heard him, and they hope things will change when the Broncos play at Arizona on Thursday night.
“The last two weeks we had a 200-yard rusher. I get where he’s coming from, but that was the last two weeks,” linebacker Von Miller said Tuesday. “This week is totally different, we’re going to get everybody’s best this week. They’re going to get our whole team’s best, and that starts with me. They’re going to get my best this week and we’re going to go out there, and we’re going to kick their ass. This is the way I’m feeling.”
Denver’s defense had some positives. The unit sacked Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff five times, three by rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb. Chubb has played steady through the first half of the season and is starting to look like the player the team envisioned when he was selected fifth overall in the 2018 draft.
“I thought Bradley’s play changed (in) Baltimore,” coach Vance Joseph said of the Week 3 game against the Ravens. “That’s when I saw a different player. Obviously, it takes time for young guys to get accustomed to playing NFL football, but I thought the Baltimore game, that’s where Bradley took his big step.”
Chubb said he is still feeling his way while working with Miller but his confidence is growing.
“Yeah, I would say it has,” he said Tuesday. “Just getting more comfortable, understanding my job and my role on this team. Whatever the coach asks me to do, I’m just trying to do right now.”
Confidence can build with a win, and with Denver (2-4) facing a struggling Cardinals team, which sits 1-5.
“We have to win,” Chubb said. “It’s been four games now and we’ve lost all four. We have to go out there and win whether somebody’s job is on the line or not. The object of the game is to win, we all know that and we all just want to go out there and get a win for the team and not selfishly.”
PRACTICE UPDATE: The Broncos had four players sit out Tuesday’s practice, and with a short week their status is unknown for Thursday. Tackle Jared Veldheer (knee), cornerback Adam Jones (thigh), linebacker Shane Ray (ankle) and safety Dymonte Thomas (chest contusion) were sidelined.
Tight end Matt LaCosse was limited in practice with a knee issue.