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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019

He likes new coach Vic Fangio, hired last month after a wildly successful career as a defensive coordinator.

He envisions second-year jumps from receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton and running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.

He believes the Broncos are positioned salary-cap wise to be active in free agency.

And he expects a return to division contention against Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers despite an 11-21 record the past two years.

"The way we played the last couple of years in Chicago was a lot different than the way the Broncos have played the last couple years," Fangio said. "The Broncos played a lot of man, and a lot of 5-man rush man. We didn't play too much of that in Chicago the past couple years. Especially this past year. We were more zone-oriented on first and second down than they were in Denver.

"Third down was more of a 50-50 mix for us. And the way we played was a lot different."

_Elway, who stands 6-3, won two Super Bowls in Mike Shanahan's offense, a system that relied more on under-center play-action and complemented Elway's arm with a productive run game. Five years into Elway's tenure as an executive, he hired Gary Kubiak with the intent of reviving the offense that provided Elway success at the tail end of his career. And now, the Broncos are expected to install a nuanced version of that system under offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who spent three of his four NFL seasons working for Kyle Shanahan. _

The desire in Elway to win, and win now, is too great to sit and hope and patiently develop a young quarterback, unless Elway is very certain that prospect is going to be a sure-fire star. That's why I believe it's highly unlikely that after making a deal for Flacco, the Broncos will draft a quarterback in the first round.

"Anytime you can have players that you've coached in the past — that can be overrated," Fangio said. "After OTAs and we're done in June, I'm going to have a bunch of players I've coached for a few months in Denver. You quickly build those working relationships. They understand what you're looking for and we better understand who they are.

"But if you have a history with a guy, that can obviously help."

But let's put his history in picking quarterbacks in proper context. In the 2016 draft, Elway loved Carson Wentz, the raw talent from North Dakota State. Problem was, the Broncos were coming off their Super Bowl 50 triumph and picked last in the 2016 as Wentz went No. 2 to Philadelphia. (For clarity, it wasn't a problem Elway's Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The problem was picking 29 spots away from Wentz). The Broncos wound up trading up from No. 31 to No.26 to outmaneuver Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys for Paxton Lynch.

John Elway couldn't talk about the Denver Broncos' new starting quarterback on the first day of the scouting combine, but he did say his "preference'' was to get Case Keenum back as the team's backup.

Initial reports have indicated a lack of support among the league's competition committee to alter the rules in a way that would have changed the heinous no-call in the NFC Championship, but one member said Wednesday that the committee is still researching different possibilities.

Defensive ends led by Ohio State's Nick Bosa and Clemson's Clelin Ferrell are prized pass rushers, but nowadays players such as Clemson D-tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are just as highly valued for their interior pressure.