ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have made tangible progress.
After a 1-5 start, the Broncos have strung together three consecutive wins — including wins over the Chiefs and Bills — to improve to 4-5 and vault themselves back into the postseason mix.
Denver, though, is far from content.
"It's not time to smell the roses quite yet," tackle Mike McGlinchey said. "We've got a lot of work to do. [We've] got a lot of season left to play, and we're going to get better each week."
McGlinchey has experience with turnarounds, as he was part of a 49ers team in 2022 that started 3-4 before winning 12 consecutive games and advancing to the NFC Championship. The key to that turnaround? Belief.
"Anything can happen in this league, and it's just a matter of playing week to week, taking your job as best as you can and finding ways to improve, and if you can do that, you're going to win games," McGlinchey said. "That's what we're starting to do here. We've got a long way to go, but we're on the right track."
As the Broncos look to continue their success, safety Justin Simmons said the key is to maintain the same approach the Broncos had during their early season struggles.
"When things aren't going so well, [my role is to] continue to encourage guys on all the things we are doing right, and we still need to fix the little things and that's kind of holding us back from winning," Simmons said. "… In terms of now that we've had a little bit of success, you've still got to do the little details that help you get to that success in terms of finding ways to win. I heard [Head Coach] Sean [Payton] … [say], even though you win, there's still details and self-inflicted wounds that could have cost you the game. That's the perspective you need to look at it with. It's almost like, when you win, you harp on it a little bit more. As great as a winning feeling is, you almost lost the chance of having it because of a few mistakes. Just continually harping [on] that. We obviously need to ride the confidence wave of winning and knowing you're going into a game and can win, but in that same regard, you've got to be able to focus and look at [as], 'OK, here are the things we haven't been doing well and here's what could cost us and here's what we need to fix.' I think that's kind of my approach as a leader."
McGlinchey agreed, saying the Broncos must continue to possess a next-play, next-game mindset that Payton instilled when he first arrived in Denver.
"It's always move forward and stay in the process," McGlinchey said. "We're starting to do that here, and I think that's why we have success. We've got to make sure we keep doing it."
The Broncos will soon face a talented Minnesota team that possesses the NFL's longest active winning streak, and quarterback Russell Wilson said the Broncos must "bring our best game" to continue their success.
"It's important," Wilson said of continuing the team's win streak. "Winning matters. It's obviously important for us to play our best football game this week. These guys are good. I turn on the film, these guys can really play. They know what they're doing. They're coached well and everything else. They've got great players."
And as the Broncos look to earn a fourth consecutive win, McGlinchey said he and his teammates should be motivated by the ways they can play even better football.
"I think confidence should be at an all-time high in this locker room," McGlinchey said. "We're playing well, and the greatest thing is we haven't even scratched the surface of what we can be yet. There's a lot to look forward to, to what we can be and what we can do on the field. And certainly winning games along that process of figuring ourselves out certainly helps out. I think we've just got to keep getting better, and we're focused on getting a win against Minnesota."
WILSON'S RED-ZONE SUCCESS
While the Broncos' offense is still searching for a perfect game, quarterback Russell Wilson has been among the league's best in the red zone.
Inside the 20-yard line, Wilson ranks first in passer rating (118.5) and tied for first in passing touchdowns (15). He also ranks second in completion percentage (69.8 percent), second in completions (30) and third in passing yards (193).
He is also one of just four quarterbacks to have attempted 40 passes inside the red zone without throwing an interception.
Asked to detail his success in the red zone, Wilson said "it's all 11" players working toward success.
"I think it's all about the offensive line giving me enough time to make the decision and everything else and then playmakers making plays," Wilson said. "We've got a lot of guys that are really special. I think Courtland [Sutton]'s having an unbelievable year, Pro Bowl year. He's done some special things, making unbelievable plays. I think Jerry [Jeudy]'s going to get really hot here. We believe in him. He's done some really good things. Obviously, the Kansas City game he had a breakout game and did some great things for us. Got a lot of guys that are touching the football and doing great things. We always want to also be physical in the run game down there. It's everybody. It's all 11.
"I think the coaches really get us prepared. You guys see our Friday and Saturday practices and the intensity, the detail that Coach Payton has us all on. It's great to be a part of."