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Broncos, Briefly: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019

Now on the hunt for the fourth head coach of his nearly eight-year tenure, Denver Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the team will do "everything we can" to get back into the postseason, and all facets of the football operations are under review.

That includes his own work as the Broncos' top football decision-maker.

"The first guy I look at is the guy I look at is the guy in the mirror, and that's me," Elway said. "I'm just as responsible for this, if not more than anybody else, because it's my responsibility to make sure we win more football games. I take full responsibility for that. I will do the best I can, continue to do the best I can ... knowing we're going to try to compete for world championships. That's what I'm about, I hate to lose, I hate it more now than I ever have."

“Case is our quarterback right now and we’ve got to do a better job of supporting him,” Elway said. “Case did a nice job this year. Obviously, he’ll tell you the same thing, he could’ve played better, but we’re always looking for that guy.”

Jan. 31 will mark the 20th anniversary of Elway’s back-to-back Super Bowl championships at quarterback in Denver. Now 58, Elway said the hunger to hoist another Lombardi Trophy hasn’t faded.

“The desire and the drive is there and it’s as great as it’s ever been,” he said. “The older I get, the more I dislike losing. I’ve dealt with that and where that comes from. But it just adds more fuel to that fire. That’s why it’s a great challenge for me and the rest of our staff to get this thing straightened away.”

Know this: Kubiak will not be part of Elway’s head coach search committee. Neither will Broncos’ chief executive officer Joe Ellis.

“I will meet every candidate for sure,’’ Ellis said in a sit-down interview with 9News on Monday. “Having said that, I want John to have an audience that’s a little bit narrower, so he can ask the questions and get a real feel for the coach and not feel any outside noise that I might bring, or extra people might bring. We don’t need a search firm. It’s important for John to sit down with all the candidates that he feels is a viable candidate to succeed. He’s got to spend one-on-one time with him to make sure he knows he’s got the right guy. Because John knows what it takes. He did it as a player, he’s done it as an executive, his dad was a coach. He knows what it takes, and I have great faith he’ll deliver us the next head coach and a good coach.’’

The executive said: “They have a good defense, a Pro Bowl running back (in Phillip Lindsay) and the (Courtland) Sutton kid is good. I think it’s attractive — equally attractive as the other ones.”

Elway believes the job is just as desirable as when he, in order, hired Fox, Gary Kubiak and Joseph.

“Our football team has to get better, there’s no question, but we’ve got a lot of good parts,” Elway said. “Therefore, we can sell that. I think the right kind of guy wants to come into a situation like this because he knows what the expectations are and what our expectations have been for a long period of time. I think it’s a great job.”

Munchak is available to interview because the Steelers’ season is over and Flores could meet with the Broncos later this week because the Patriots have a first-round playoff bye. Fangio is not available to interview this week because the Bears host Philadelphia in an NFC wild card game on Sunday.

Elway said former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is not a candidate “at this point in time,” which means it is unlikely he re-emerges on the radar. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is also unlikely to be in the Broncos’ plans because he is under contract for 2019 and would require draft-pick compensation in order to pry away from Baltimore.

Elway praised Vance Joseph's work ethic and energy but admitted, "we didn't win enough games." Elway accepted responsibility for the current mess. The Broncos posted consecutive seasons with double-figure losses for the first time since 1967.

"The first thing you do in this situation (after firing the coach) is look at the guy the mirror. I am just as responsible for this, if not more than anyone else because it's my job to win football games," Elway said. "I am responsible for this."

Elway prefers an experienced coach and believes this remains as desirable a job as it was two years ago. That is debatable given the unsettled ownership issue, the recent spiral and the expectations.

"I have full confidence that the ownership situation is going to get straightened away. If I say 'rebuild' it sounds like an excuse. We want to go into training camp and compete for a playoff spot. You can call it whatever you want. I have not lowered my expectations," Elway said. "I hate losing. The older I get the more I dislike losing."

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