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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018

While Butt couldn't get on the field as a Broncos rookie in 2017 during rehabilitation from a severe injury, there was an army of supporters walking alongside him on the long road to recovery.

"During my comeback, how much has my family, my teammates, my coaches and my supporting cast meant to me? Everything," Jake Butt said.

He caught two passes against the Seahawks, and rumbled 22 yards into the red zone on Denver's winning touchdown drive.

"It was just good to see him out there on the field," Rob Butt said, "running and enjoying himself again."

As Elway put it: "You want to compete. ... I was done playing, after that ['98] season, when I thought about it all after the season was over I felt like that was the right time for me [to retire], physically, mentally. But saying that, that desire to compete doesn't really leave you."

This offseason, Elway said Gruden "was a great coach in this league for a long time" and "that I'm sure it will add to the rivalry we have with the Raiders."

"Bill is as smart as they come," Keenum said. "He's brilliant and I really appreciate his knowledge of the game and how he explains, installs and teaches us the game.

"He does a great job of teaching us the game and he sees it through a quarterback's eyes, which I really like, having a coordinator who played at quarterback and knows what we're going through."

That version of Jones is like a big brother to Lilian, the 18-year-old daughter of Jones' longtime agent, Peter Schaffer, and a guy who initially bonded seven years ago with Lilian over their shared love of horses, and the player who has dedicated his 2018 season to Lilian's cancer fight.

"She's strong, man. I saw every video. After chemo, she would go and ride her horses. She would work out. It's unbelievable," Jones told The Athletic. "You have to have real drive and dedication and heart. I'd tell her, 'Baby, you're a star.' To handle herself in the way that she handled herself. She never thought about anything else but winning."

Former Broncos receiver Mark Jackson, who once caught passes from Elway, has long admired Sanders, calling him a "warrior." Jackson watched as Sanders flipped into the end zone and kneeled quickly for a prayer of thanks.

"You know what I saw?" Jackson said. "A guy who is excited to be playing football. Literally, I could see that in Emmanuel."

We all could see it. Sanders, tough guy from Bellville, has returned in full force.

The Broncos' tackling plan needs to be good Sunday against Oakland because running back Marshawn Lynch still has the ability to carry defenders up the field.

"That's how he's been running his whole career: Downhill, always lowering his shoulders, keeping his feet moving on contact," nose tackle Domata Peko said. "I've played him a couple times before and a key is swarming him. You can't have one guy try and tackle him. Eleven hats on the football and knock that pile back."