ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – As the Broncos prepare to play again in a shortened week, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway sat down with Chris Hall of Broncos TV to talk about the state of the team as they prepare to play another AFC-West rival in the Chargers in the Week 15 edition of the Elway Access Podcast presented by US Bank Flex Perks.
After beating the Tennessee Titans 51-28 on Sunday, the Broncos have just a few days before having to hit the field again for a Thursday night tilt with the Chargers.
"It's difficult," Elway said of the short week. "I only had to do it one time on a Thanksgiving day and we went to Detroit and had our lunch handed to us. So I know it's tough on a short week but the good thing is that every team in the league has to do it now. And for the fans, I think it's great to have Thursday night football for the fans knowing that there is some kind of football every day – five out of the seven days of the week there is some kind of football."
The most important part of the process is getting healthy, and that can be difficult on short schedule. But Elway praised Head Coach John Fox for the way he prepares the team for Thursday night games.
Most of the preparation is mental, Elway said, instead of physical allowing the players the maximum amount of recovery time. That recovery time is pivotal as many of the Broncos are bouncing back from injuries.
On Sunday, the Broncos showed their depth as a result of some of those injuries.
"We've had a lot guys step up in the secondary," Elway said. "We had several guys play (Sunday) in the cold. We've gone through the whole roster. If you're on that 46 you're going to be a big part of what is going on – especially on the defensive side – and that's the way it's been."
Dealing with injuries is just another aspect of the game that the Broncos have dealt with this season – exemplifying their mental toughness.
Elway said that he thinks the team has shown more toughness, especially mentally, in the last couple of weeks as they have come back from early deficits to win two games in a row.
"Obviously you like to get off to a better start but for us to be able to come back, continue to grind and play the physical football – a lot of that goes to offensive line," Elway said. "They did a great job of protecting Peyton (Sunday) and we've been able to run the ball. The running game has gotten better and better.
"The physicality of the game starts up front and I think offensive line-wise, we're winning the battles up front."
But dealing with injuries and fighting back to win games is just a part of what has defined the identity of this team this season – a team that has seen a lot of different obstacles thrown in their way.
"At least it looks like it's going to be a little bit warmer this week than it was (Sunday)," Elway said. "But again, I think the one good thing is that nothing has been normal for us this year, so we are back off schedule and we've adjusted to it well all year so I don't anticipate us not doing the same this Thursday night."