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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019

"It's just unbelievable," Butt said. "I had always been a quick healer and I had always taken so much pride in being available, being a guy the team could count on to not only play in the game, but get a big first down on third-and-8. They could call my number. It had become my identity — somebody my coaches and players could rely on.

"These past three years, my identity has been stripped from me to where I'm now 'The Injured Guy.' "

The Broncos are 3-6 and feature a quarterback who, before Sunday, hadn't played a regular-season down. They have a first-year offensive coordinator, a first-year head coach and one of the youngest offenses. They've come close and often come unglued late. They also sport a defense that has not only developed into one of the finest, but one of the best in the most critical area of the field.

First half in two words: Growing pains. The Broncos have lost two games on the final play and another with 22 seconds remaining. The makeover is well underway, as proven by Denver's starting offense in Week 9, which averaged 25 years old. The quarterback question is nowhere close to being answered. There are plenty of times when the talent deficit shows, but first-year coach Vic Fangio has kept the Broncos competitive. Other than the dismal loss to the Chiefs, the Broncos have played with backbone.

In this league, the seasons are long, experience is king and those without it are babes in the woods. These are things Noah Fant and Dalton Risner knew coming into the NFL, and they're not about to get ahead of themselves, even after good starts to their young professional careers.

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