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Broncos head into second quarter of the season with momentum, room to improve

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The bye arrives early this season.

The Broncos haven't taken their break this soon since a Week 4 bye in 2014, and you have to look back to 2006 to find another Broncos bye week as early as Week 5.

Yet while the stretch run will be long, this early gap in the action can serve as a "State of the Broncos," of sorts.

Head Coach Vance Joseph treated it as such Monday, the day after a 16-10 win over the Oakland Raiders that pushed the Broncos to 3-1 at the break.

"Right now, offensively, running the football has been really good for us," Joseph said. "The pass game, it's there. It's a work in progress. We've got some things that are working for us, but it has not been efficient enough for me. Defensively, obviously stopping the run was a goal of ours. That's happening. Our pass coverage is pretty tight, but we've given up too many explosive passes that [have] led to points. So obviously [there's] some good and bad there."

Joseph added Sunday afternoon the trend of committing critical errors, including blown coverages and turnovers, "has to stop."

Last season, the Broncos began the season 4-0, but those type of errors late in the season led the team to miss the playoffs by a game. As the team looks to avoid that sort of slide in 2017, they'll use the bye week to evaluate where the team can improve.

For safety Will Parks, who Head Coach Vance Joseph said has a number of responsibilities in his new role, that means getting a jump on preparation for the New York Giants.

"It gives us a chance to get our bodies back," Parks said. "We completed the first quarter 3-1. Like coach [Vance Joseph] said, 'Our team changes every quarter. We're going to change for the better, come back, get ready for the Giants.' I won't be surprised if we come back [Monday] and start watching some Giants film and start practicing for them. I can't wait to get to it."

The Broncos said they will also use the bye to reflect on their lone loss and how they can ensure that other opportunities don't slip away.

"We know that we didn't come to play our best versus the Bills," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "We could easily be undefeated right now, so we've just got to fix our mistakes and come up with a great plan versus the Giants. We've got two weeks to get ready for them. That's the only thing we can look forward to."

For now, they'll head into the bye on a high note following a division win that pushed them to 2-0 in the AFC West.

Perhaps Derek Wolfe said it best as he closed his media availability Sunday afternoon and tried to put the Broncos' early success in perspective.

"It's the end of the quarter, the end of those first four games," Wolfe said. "If you can go 3-1 every quarter, you're doing all right."

A previous of this story said, prior to 2014, the Broncos' last bye week as early as Week 5 came in 1994. The Broncos had a Week 5 bye in 2006. We regret the error.

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