ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Head Coach Gary Kubiak looked rested and ready to get back to work Monday -- and with good reason, since a key to his recovery from the complex migraine he suffered last week is to get the necessary rest.
"The biggest thing for me is really helping me sleep a little better," Kubiak said, adding that he had "a few" sleep tests done over the last week.
"All my tests came back great," he said. "They keep talking to me about some sleep patterns that I had, that's probably the biggest thing. So I'm trying to work through that and improve that."
The Kubiak the players saw Monday was unchanged, and that's exactly what the Broncos needed as they began working to ensure their current skid stops at two games.
- KUBIAK'S THREE KEY POINTS**
When one reporter suggested that Kubiak was talking a little bit softer than usual, Kubiak had a quick retort.
"That's probably because I've been hollering a lot this morning," he said, smiling.
Because the Broncos' two losses in five days were so similar, Kubiak grouped them together when he met with the team for the first time since he was hospitalized on Oct. 9, and offered three points of emphasis.
"I talked about three things today with the players: Preparation, detail and then it's time to go put forth the effort and play," Kubiak said. "We have to focus on those things -- starting with me, starting with us as coaches and then filter it down through our guys."
It was nothing that the players aren't used to hearing from Kubiak, but it was welcome reinforcement nonetheless.
"He kind of lights a fire to get everybody going -- coaches, players, everybody," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "He just kept it straightforward, telling us what we need to do. We need to get it going in the right direction -- especially after you lose two games like that."
Added Kubiak: "We've got to play better. I told the players today, 'The last two games looked a lot alike -- unfortunately.' Very slow starting football games. We corrected ourselves defensively and played well in the second half."
But there were too many mistakes.
"Bottom line -- you have 12 penalties, two turnovers, you're not going to win in this league," Kubiak said.
He's right; since 2010, teams with at least 12 penalties and two giveaways are 14-44-1, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, including seven consecutive losses.
- SIEMIAN "CAME OUT FINE"**
QB Trevor Siemian was back at practice, and Kubiak was pleased with how he worked four days after a performance of which Kubiak said, "I don't think he [was] quite himself."
Kubiak said Siemian "looked better throwing the ball" on Monday, aided by the fact that the Broncos were able to keep the hits he absorbed to a minimum.
3. O-LINE NEEDS TO REGAIN "CONTINUITY"
The struggles of the offensive line were one of the common threads that linked the last two games, with pass-protection breakdowns against Atlanta and a spate of penalties against San Diego contributing to the offense's inefficient performances.
"We've lost some continuity in what we're doing," Kubiak said. "We started the season playing really well up front, and I would say even into Week 3, going into Cincinnati, Ty [Sambrailo's] first start.
"We've got to get back on track here and we've got to stay away from negative football plays and give our quarterback a chance to operate."
The penalties are "correctable," Kubiak said.
"All of our penalties affected the game a great deal; they weren't taking you from first-and-10 to first-and-15," he noted. "But they're all correctable."
- "MORE OPPORTUNITIES" FOR DEVONTAE BOOKER?**
Booker has been the No. 2 running back all season to date, but the power and explosion he displayed last Thursday, his improved pass-protection work and his decisive style appears to have earned him a shot at more playing time.
But Kubiak added that it doesn't mean fewer repetitions for C.J. Anderson.
"No, I just think that when he's had some opportunities, he's done some really good things," Kubiak said. "As a young player, we're trying to get him going as far as protections and those type of things, but he's starting to handle himself better.
"I think he deserves some more opportunities to touch the football, and when he's had the opportunity, he's done some good stuff."
However, Kubiak noted that the combined yards-per-carry average of 5.5 for Booker and Anderson last Thursday was "deceiving" because of how the yardage was achieved.
"They were draws. They weren't first- and second-down plays," Kubiak said.
5. GETTING READY FOR BROCK OSWEILER
No time was wasted in asking questions about the former Broncos quarterback, who has led Houston to a 4-2 start and a comeback from a 23-9 fourth-quarter deficit in Sunday night's 26-23 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts.
And while the defense wants to get at Osweiler, that's no different from how they view any other quarterback. Even though Osweiler said he felt Houston provided him the "best chance to win" compared with the Broncos, it wasn't something this former teammates took personally.
"I don't think anybody in this locker room cares, honestly, how he left. I think everybody's happy that he got his," inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "When you're a player in this league, you're happy when another player gets his money, when he gets what he's due. In this locker room, nobody has any ill will towards Brock. But at the same time, it's a competition, because we want to shut him down."
A visual look at the Broncos' first practice since Thursday's game against San Diego. Gary Kubiak returned to practice, having recovered from complex migraine symptoms. (photos by Gabriel Christus)