ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Head Coach John Fox wasn't ready to call Thursday's loss to the San Diego Chargers a wakeup call.
But he did acknowledge that a loss can refocus a team, "because you don't get the product that you work so hard all week to get."
With that in mind, he pointed to late-season losses in recent history as examples.
"You can go back and do research, I think there has been a lot of successful teams that have had losses late in the season," Fox said.
Independent analyst Andrew Mason did that research in the hours after Thursday's game, and noted that each of the last four Super Bowl champions lost in Week 15.
"Where we’ll fit on that totem pole, I have no idea yet," Fox continued. "We obviously have work to do to improve."
"We have to get better to get where we want to go. Having said that, I think we lost our third game, not our 13th. We don’t think the sky is falling."
Below are more highlights from Fox's Friday press session.
On what he attributes the substitution errors that led to penalties to
“I think a little of the hurry-up. Give them some credit. We obviously – coaches, players – didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We were caught twice, and at some point I had to use a timeout for another one. That’s something that again, we’ll emphasize. They’re in there watching the tape now. We’ll learn that and move forward.”
On if it’s unrealistic to expect such a high level of production from QB
“As I mentioned last night, I don’t think – even after watching the tape – I don’t know if we had our best stuff. I’d say that’s probably, I know in two of the three phases. We’ve all got our signature on it. We all have got to better jobs as coaches, starting with me. And we’ve got to do a better job with preparation. We were on a short week, we used a schedule that had worked for us in the past, and they obviously looked more energetic than we did.”
On if the number of injuries the team has sustained finally caught up to them last night
“No. As I mentioned last night, I’m not going to use injuries as an excuse. ‘Next man up’ isn’t just convenient when it’s convenient. We had some different guys play and some guys stepped in. The reality is that we just didn’t play as well as I think we’re capable. And that is a good football team. The game there, it was 28-20. It was a one-possession game. Rather than play keep-away, the biggest difference was their third-down conversions. That eats clock and keeps our offense off the field. It’s not entirely their fault. That stretch where it swung in the second quarter was big. We’ve got to eliminate that, especially against a team that knows us and is a top-five offensive football team.”
On whether he will root for other teams this weekend to help the Broncos in the playoff picture
“We’re more concerned with us. Again, you always want things to go your way when it involves other teams but we’re going to get an opportunity to be in the playoffs. Where exactly how that fits as far as seeds and all that, we’ll influence that – or have an opportunity to – in our next two games. With all the focus really being on the next game and that is Houston. We can’t control what everybody else does.”
On WR Andre “Bubba” Caldwell
“I think it’s a tribute to Bubba working, staying positive. Tyke Tolbert, our receivers coach, does an excellent job. I thought [Caldwell] made some significant plays – I think the fourth down play he made to get us to a one-score game was a big play. Obviously, the two touchdown catches are big. Again, that was an example of a guy stepping up and I thought he did a good job.”