Heading into the Broncos' final game of the season, tight end Adam Trautman believes a win over the division rival Las Vegas Raiders would be a major boost for Denver's long-term outlook.
"It's important for the culture, and we're going to do everything we can to win this game," Trautman said after practice on Wednesday.
While building a championship culture has been a priority for the Broncos throughout this season and will be a motivator in Week 18, the realities of NFL business mean that the Denver roster won't look exactly the same at the start of next season, with free agency and the draft ahead.
As a result, Trautman and his Broncos teammates are savoring their last week together in the locker room.
"That's just the nature of the business," Trautman said. "So we're going to show up Monday after the game and it's going to be like, [the] last team meeting, and then it's like, 'All right, see you guys.' Some guys you might never see again, unless you play them.
"It [stinks], especially when you have such a great locker room and guys love to be around each other and guys love to come to work, so it's tough, but that's part of it."
Denver's season will end short of the playoffs, but 2023 included a five-game winning streak that featured Denver's first win over Kansas City since 2015 and the team's first sweep of a divisional opponent since 2019.
Safety P.J. Locke said he'll miss the the team environment, and he'll look to pay those bonds tribute via a victory in the Broncos' season finale.
"[I'll miss] just the camaraderie, man," Locke said. "I feel like we're a pretty tight-knit group and just the jokes we share in the locker room and just the memories we had. Just throughout this season — coming back from a 1-5 deficit and the streak that we had. We just want to finish strong, finish on a high note and say our farewells then."