Broncos safety Su'a Cravens eager for increased role after injury (Ryan O'Halloran and Kyle Fredrickson, Denver Post)
"(Coaches) told me they were just trying to get me back into the motion of things and didn't want to rush me back," Cravens said. "I'm a competitor. So I hate just standing there and watching. So watching the film for me was just, 'I want to play some more.'"
The Broncos signed Cravens in March, and over his seven months with the team, including its 3-6 start to the season, he's appreciated a consistent player focus toward improvement.
"I like this locker room a lot because we don't get too high and we don't get too low," Cravens said. "We understand we have a job to do and we have keep the positivity going. We can't focus on the negativity."
Are these Broncos really different from 2017? Their post-bye performance may answer that. (Nicki Jhabvala, The Athletic)
"I think last year was a lot different. It was an early bye last year," Joseph said. "I think Week 4 or 5 it was last year. I think this year, our team's different. It's later in the season. I think last year has no effect on this year, honestly. Our goal is to get better — just to go back and kind of see what we've done well and what we haven't done well and fix those things that we haven't done well. That's the purpose of the bye, and obviously to get some guys back off of injury."
Joseph has plenty of statistics to support his case that these Broncos are wholly unlike those of 2017. But their records through the first nine games are identical.
"I mean, it's easy to say that (we're better than 3-6)," receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. "I'm sure the Giants are saying that too. I'm sure everybody is saying that. But the record shows exactly who you are. Right now we're a 3-6 football team."
[Coach Vance Joseph's current mantra for Broncos: Starting faster](Coach Vance Joseph's current mantra for Broncos: Starting faster) (Ryan O'Halloran, Denver Post)
Joseph pointed to the most recent game (a 19-17 loss to Houston in Week 9) and used the first 15-20 plays as an initial turning point.
"The first 15-20 plays of the game, you can tell right away if your plan is pretty good or if your plan is not good or if it's player error," Joseph said. "If your plan is good, if your team matches up well — you just know.
"In the first 15-20 (snaps) on both sides of the ball, we have to play better football."
Houston's first drive: The Texans moved 75 yards on eight plays to make it 7-0. The Broncos allowed gains of nine, 31, 18 and seven yards.
The Broncos' first drive: Three-and-out with one yard gained.