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Next-Day Notebook: Why the Broncos must embrace mental preparation ahead of 'Thursday Night Football'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In Head Coach Vic Fangio's office, there's a sign with apt advice for the Broncos this week.

"It's not time to worry," the sign reads. "It's time to work."

Fangio said Monday that those nine words are his motto, and they couldn't be more befitting of a Broncos team that has lost three consecutive games after a 3-0 start.

With a Thursday night game in Cleveland on the horizon, the Broncos can dwell on the disappointment of a 34-24 loss to the Raiders and let it lead to another defeat this week. Or the Broncos can find a way to rally and pull themselves above .500 with two home games — against a pair of teams with a combined 4-8 record — remaining before their Week 11 bye.

Fangio said Monday he believes his team is comprised of the type of people that can accomplish the latter.

"I think we have the right kind of guys that will rally," Fangio said. "I think we have good leadership. I think there's a high care factor. I have confidence in the guys."

The Broncos will have to turn their attention quickly to the Browns, and nearly every player that met the media after Sunday's loss spoke about having a short memory.

"I feel like it's easier this way," Von Miller said Sunday. "Whenever I lose, I've always been the type of guy to say, 'Let's run it right back.' If you beat me in cards, I want to run it right back so I can get that win. If you beat me in a video game, I want to run it right back so I can get a win. I want another shot at it super quick. There's no better time to do it. We've got 96 hours to get it done. I like it like this. I want it as fast as possible. I want to get this taste out of my mouth fast as possible. I want to play right now, and it's the perfect situation to be in. We get to play extremely fast, and we get a break right after that. It's all about winning, though."

The Broncos, though, must find a way to make corrections without the benefit of a full-speed practice. After an off day on Monday, the players will return to the building for two walkthroughs on Tuesday and another on-field session on Wednesday.

"Practices this week will be very, very low tempo," Fangio said of improving the team's execution. "We have to sweat in the meeting room this week. We won't be sweating on the practice field, so we've got to really strain our brains and learn in the meeting rooms, because we're not going to be able to really strain and practice on the practice field to break a sweat. It has to be done in the meeting rooms and it's got to be done at home watching the extra tape. That's the way it has to be this week."

Then, when the game arrives, the Broncos must return to what they do well. And while Fangio admitted Sunday that the team's confidence may be shaken, he outlined on Monday where he believes the team can excel.

"We have to feel confident that our secondary, which has been unscathed with injuries, will play really well," Fangio said. "We have to hang our hat on our O-line, which we believe is a good O-line, and our running backs which we believe are two good running backs. [Mike] Boone is in there making it a third. I believe in Courtland Sutton and [Tim] Patrick as receivers. I believe in Teddy [Bridgewater's] ability to lead the offense. Those are some of the things we can hang our hat on."

If the Broncos can find a way to put those elements together, perhaps they can steal a win against a beat-up Browns team. After a loss that dropped the Broncos to 3-3, Denver desperately needs a win to remain in the thick of the playoff hunt.

"Every game is very, very critical and you have to go one at a time," Fangio said. "We're going to put all our efforts and energy into winning this football game. … Every game, once you get to this point in the season and you've got a 50-50 record, every one feels just a little more important."

In Week 7, that next game will come quite quickly.

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