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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018

"I don't know if that's a box I'd like to check. That's not something I've thought about before — winning an opener," Keenum said. "Obviously, you want to start fast, you want to start the season right being at home. ... There's a lot of reasons to play well and to win. The first game, with it being a season opener, I guess you can add it to the firsts."

Familiarity might also play a role Sunday, though, taking further consideration into Keenum's past as he has faced Seattle in three previous games with the Rams. Keenum beat the Seahawks as a starter in 2015 and 2016 with a combined 60 percent completion percentage, 342 yards through the air and one touchdown. Later in 2016, Keenum attempted only nine passes in reserve during a loss at Seattle.

No one personifies a Denver defense better than No. 27, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is swirling around Atwater. He made the trip to Canton, Ohio, for the enshrinement ceremony for good friend and fellow safety Brian Dawkins, who played 13 seasons with the Eagles before a few with Denver.

"I'm hoping I get in one day, but that night was about Brian Dawkins. It wasn't about me at all," Atwater said. "I was really happy for him. He had a heck of a career, the impact that he had on our players here, Chris Harris and DT (Demaryius Thomas) and those guys. He put something in them to make them work hard and be the best at their position."

"He can carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. "... That's what he showed at Oregon. He was their main guy. He had a lot of work, and he stayed healthy through the work. That's an issue for most young backs. Can they carry the load for 16 weeks? I think with his background, his body type, he should be able to carry the load for 16 weeks."

"He's not afraid to let you hear it on the field," kicker Brandon McManus [said].

And, McMahon's goals are far from midge-sized.

"We're going to be great on special teams," he said soon after taking the job. "And, hopefully we'll win the Super Bowl."

Toeing the line of conservative play vs. smart play is a balancing act for quarterbacks. But for Keenum, it's an internal challenge he has welcomed and probably the biggest reason he'll run out of the tunnel on Sunday as The Guy in Denver.

"It's kind of the name of the game — the name of my game," he said. "We all want to win. I want to win, especially. Bad. More than a lot of things. Making sure that you're not doing too much ... stay within myself. Not try to do too much. I've got a talented, talented offense in there — a talented offensive line, running backs, receivers and tight ends that can make plays for me. I can give them a chance, trust them, let them make plays for me, and if it's not there, hold onto the ball, take a sack, throw it away and let our defense — we got a great defense too. So let them make some plays too."