Denver Broncos | News

Q&A with Mark Schlereth


Editor's Note:'s Stuart Zaas is in New Orleans working for the NFL during Super Bowl week. He will check in from time to time with updates leading up to the game on Sunday.

NEW ORLEANS -- ** talked with former Bronco lineman Mark Schlereth during Super Bowl week in New Orleans.

Schlereth played six seasons with the Broncos and earned two Super Bowl titles with the club.

Below is a Q&A with the two-time Pro Bowler:

Were you surprised at the type of season the Broncos had in 2012?

"You know, I was. I figured that we'd win – we, because I am still a member – that we'd win the AFC West and win 10 or 11 games, but to go 13-3 and put the kind of season they put together, it was phenomenal. You kept seeing (quarterback Peyton Manning) get better and better as the season went on."

Do you feel Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway should have been named the NFL's Executive of the Year?

"Well, I'm biased. I think they did an exceptional job in Denver and Elway has done an exceptional job. But, I do look at what Ryan Grigson was able to do in Indianapolis. They basically purged that entire roster. It was a phenomenal job. I would have loved to see John get it, but I understand why it went the other direction."

Do you think Elway will win one sometime down the line?

"Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning – and I get it. That's the belle of the ball, everybody wanted that. The different moves that they were able to make – Knowshon Moreno coming off the bench and coming out of nowhere. (Dan) Koppen, getting him while he still wasn't 100 percent healthy and working him back there and being there ready when J.D. Walton went out with an injury. That was an incredible move by them. And I'm sure I'm missing half a dozen of them, but they still did a lot of great things as an organization and John did a lot of great things as an executive."

What qualities did Elway display as a player that you see helping him as a front office executive?

"He's the same guy. He's the ultimate competitor and when he's in it, he's in it full go. It's not just one of those things where you're dabbling in the thing. He's knee-deep in it. I've spent time sitting in his office and he's decked out in his sweats and he's been grinding for three days. You just realize that he's doing the work. It's not just for show. He's in there grinding, just like he was as a player."

What area do the Broncos need to improve in next season?

"I think depth at the running back position, the decision you're going to have to make with Willis McGahee. I know you've added some free agents as far as the defensive line is concerned and the defensive tackle position with (Justin) Bannan and (Kevin) Vickerson – what are you going to do there? That's going to be a big part of what they do this offseason. There are going to be some of those personnel decisions they're going to have to make along the way. For the most part, they are a solid football team with a great quarterback, great young receiving corps. They have a great future."

Are you still able to root for the Broncos despite your current media jobs?

"I'm a fan. Once a Bronco, always a Bronco. You always want to see your people, your guys like Elway have success. I still have great friends within the organization. (Head Athletic Trainer Steve) 'Greek' (Antonopulos) and (Assistant Athletic Trainer) Corey (Oshikoya), some of the guys in the training room where I spent the majority of my time as a player. So, I have a lot of good friends and great connections. I still live in the area. I'll always be a Broncos fan."

Why have we seen so many Broncos alumni like yourself back around the team in recent years?

"(Owner and CEO) Pat Bowlen has done a great job of making us all feel welcome. Of course, when John Elway came in, and (Head Coach John) Fox is really big on that, too. Fox is great as far as keeping that kind of Bronco family together. The whole thing for us has been great. It's great to be able to come back. I was down on the field with my wife during a couple of the scrimmages. It's just fun to be included."

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