ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The verdict is still out on whether Thursday's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks is more significant than any other exhibition matchup. It's preseason, so the result isn't logged in the record book.
But, perhaps the Broncos' performance on Thursday will mean more to the team because of how the 2013 season ended – at the hands of the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Head Coach John Fox said that the starters won't play past the first quarter and that "last year is forgotten."
"Everybody is 0-0 because this is the 2014 season," Fox said. "This is no different than any other years, like a year ago we lost to the Baltimore Ravens [in the 2012 playoff then opened the 2013 season against them]. Like I have said many times, if you don't win the last game there will be disappointment.
"That is behind us and we are so far along now with different players and different schemes that we don't think about that much."
Some members of the Broncos consider this game simply another exhibition game where the starters play little and the result is irrelevant. Ronnie Hillman said rather than anticipating the preseason game, he's looking forward to the regular season matchup in Seattle to see how the teams truly stack up.
Take a look at photos from Day 13 of training camp.
"It doesn't count, so at the end of the night, nothing goes on your record," Hillman said. "It's not a real big deal, but probably Week 3 when it's time to put the pads on and when it's counting, it'll be a bigger deal. But right now it's just a bigger way to get us out here and practice and get us ready for the season."
Steven Johnson, a member of the Broncos' defense that gave up 341 yards of total offense during the Super Bowl, echoes Hillman's opinion that the game has no added significance. It's just another preseason game where the team is looking to improve.
"Yeah we are good to play somebody else but I can tell you right now we are so focused on what we're doing as a defense, what we're doing as linebackers, and we are really just trying to better ourselves for the season," Johnson said. "We have a good opponent coming up this Thursday and we are excited to go out there and see what we can do."
"We are going to try and put our best foot forward."
Terrance Knighton has increased motivation because he's facing the Seahawks.
"We won't need any more speeches," Knighton said. "They are the champs, and they get the last word; but ultimately our goal is to get back to the big show and win it this time. I think that playing them in the preseason and the regular season will show if we're ready or not to take that next step. I'm just looking forward to it."
Knighton said he spoke to the younger players earlier this week and said, even though it's just preseason, that there's "extra fuel" to the game. Cornerback Omar Bolden also said that the game is "more personal" because of the Broncos' 43-8 loss in February.
Rookie Bradley Roby, who faced Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in college, wasn't on the team last season. But he said he can feel the team's emotions from last year.
"Anytime something like that happens in the Super Bowl, you know that's going to happen the next year," Roby said. "Especially opening up that next year with the same team, you know it's going to be a little here and there. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be worth watching, so I'm just excited to be a part of it."