ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With just two weeks remaining in the 2013 regular season, Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway sat down with Chris Hall of Broncos TV to talk about taking care of business heading into the postseason in the Week 16 edition of Elway Access presented by US Bank FlexPerks.
The Broncos clinched a playoff berth after beating the Titans 51-28 in Week 14 but a loss to the Chargers temporarily took the Broncos' hopes of claiming the top spot in the conference and home-field advantage out of their hands. But on Sunday, the Dolphins beat the Patriots to put the Broncos right back where they were – in the driver's seat.
The loss to the Chargers, Elway said, was an important wakeup call.
"I think that especially with the way things worked out this weekend, it was the best thing that could have happened to us," Elway said. "And even if it hadn't happened with the losses and we hadn't gotten back into controlling our own destiny for the first seed, we needed that to happen. I think we needed that reboot. We need to reset, we need to go back, we need to focus on what's important, what went for us when we were playing well."
Elway said that there were some undisciplined moments on the field for the Broncos on Thursday night but that the Chargers deserved credit for executing on third downs to keep their offense on the field.
He added that he thinks the loss is a chance to springboard the team into its best football at this pivotal stage in the season. This Sunday provides the opportunity for the Broncos to clinch both the AFC West and home-field advantage with the right help.
The Broncos win the AFC West with a win and Chiefs loss and the Broncos would claim home-field throughout the playoffs if both the Chiefs lose and the Patriots lose or tie.
"Obviously you're more comfortable at home but when you get in the playoffs, anything can happen and everybody you play that are in the playoffs are good football teams, especially when you look at the lower seeds," Elway said. "These are the teams that have battled to get in and they've been in playoff circumstances for the last three or four weeks of the season, so they are battle-tested by the time they get in the playoffs. That's why we have to be ready and handle it better than we did last year.
"If we can get the home-field advantage, it's nice to have it but it doesn't guarantee you anything."
In the ongoing effort to put the best team on the field as possible, the Broncos agreed to terms with defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey on Tuesday. Mincey is a sixth-year player who spent the first part of his career with the Jaguars.
This week, he'll be working on learning the defense as quickly as he can.
"He's got a lot to learn but the good thing is that he played for (Defensive Coordinator) Jack (Del Rio) down in Jacksonville so he knows what Jack Del Rio is about. The system is not going to be too different than he's used to. He'll have a background in what we're doing but again he's going to have to get up to speed in a hurry. So we're going to put the pressure on him to do that."
Mincey joins a defensive unit that has battled several injuries this season. But despite those injuries and the resulting changes to the lineup, Elway believes the right pieces are in place.
"I still believe that the talent is there," he said. "It's just a matter of putting it all together."