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'The thing about great teams is they always respond': Broncos moving forward from Week 1, focused on home opener vs. Houston

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' path was never going to be without adversity.

It may have come earlier than expected following Denver's 17-16 Week 1 loss, but the team was always going to face an opportunity to rebound.

And as quarterback Russell Wilson told his teammates on Wednesday, the key to a great season is how a group responds to those temporary shortcomings.

"We just had a walkthrough, for example, and [I] was telling the guys in the walkthrough afterwards, after we broke it down … I said, 'Listen: The thing about great teams is they always respond. If you want to be a championship team, you've got to respond. So how are we going to respond today?'" Wilson said Wednesday. "And then we've got another day tomorrow, hopefully. If God wakes us up, we've got another day to do it again. And another day to do it again. It's all about response, it's all about attitude, it's all about mentality, language, staying focused on the task."

Denver should be poised to respond against Houston, because as Wilson noted, the Broncos' confidence has not been shaken.

"I think confidence should never waver," Wilson said. "If you're truly confident, you don't really waver much. But ... I think we have a great team. Everybody knows that I think that. A lot of people got to see that on Monday night. You've got to finish. ... You can't give up the ball. That's just the name of the game in this game. But our confidence isn't wavering."

Wilson has won more games than any quarterback in NFL history through his first 10 seasons, but he's also suffered through more than 50 losses. And over the course of a decade, he's learned to learn from those games without dwelling on the result.

"You realize you don't win it all in one game, one day," Wilson said of his perspective after losses. "You win it through a journey and a process. I think that you have to have amnesia playing this game. You have to be able to remember the great moments, but forget them too — in the midst of a game, after the game. … You look at everything, you see what went well, what didn't go well. I kind of have a process. I watch my film, for example, just my guy. And then I watch just the whole collective group and then I watch it again just to see, 'OK, what else could we have done different?' I always grade it and I always think about just simply, what did we do well? And what can we get better at? And then from there, you take that in objectively and you move forward.

"I think maybe it's the baseball in me. Maybe the Rockies, maybe being with the Yankees, I don't know [if it's from] playing a lot of baseball in my day. I think a lot of it is you've got to be able to focus on the next pitch, the next moment. …You learn from moments. I'm not saying you don't learn from them. But I think what you're able to do is you're able to move forward from them and grow from them. And I think this game's all about growth. You're either growing or you're not. I always want to be on that constant elevator of growth."

As the Broncos approach their home opener — a Week 2 matchup with the Texans — veteran safety Kareem Jackson said he believes the Broncos have been able to learn from their errors.

"Thus far, everybody's been positive for the most part," Jackson said. "We feel like as a team, we definitely let one get away. And watching the plays today as a team and a lot of the things that were pointed out by [Head] Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett, a lot of missed opportunities, just undisciplined things as far as the penalties and things like that, that kind of cost us that game. I think second half is what it's supposed to look like when we're talking about the defensive side of the ball. For us, it's just making corrections and moving forward. We've got 16 more opportunities as a team and then just have to get better each and every day."

And Wilson firmly believes the Broncos will respond in their next opportunity — and in other games later in the season.

"I believe, number one, in myself, but two, I believe in this football team and what we can do," Wilson said. "If we're in those chances down the road, we're going to win a lot of those games. Because you have to go through a little bit of adversity to get to the other side. That's just what it is. You've got to be able to have a little challenge — I always say adversity tolerance — to get to the other side of greatness."


The Broncos ran 11 plays from inside the 10-yard line on Monday night, and seven of those snaps came in the shotgun formation. 

On Wednesday, Hackett detailed the benefits to operating from the gun near the goal line.

"I think there's a good mix of both," Hackett said of the team's plan. "… At Green Bay, we saw it gave us a lot of run-pass options. I think it makes it so they have to cover the whole field. So you still get the downhill runs with riding some of those double teams on the backside, but at the same time, if you're going to throw the ball, you're in a better position to get that ball out."

A would-be Broncos touchdown came from the shotgun — a shovel pass to Andrew Beck — but it was called back due to a false start.


Wilson is poised to make his debut at Empower Field at Mile High, and he noted that this weekend's game will be a big moment for him.

"I'm super excited to play here at home," Wilson said. "I've obviously gotten to experience the home energy during preseason and running out for the first time, but this is going to be a monumental moment just in a way for me. I'm excited about it, because these fans are the best. I was stunned how many fans were able to travel up to the game in Seattle. Tons of orange in the crowd and just how loud it was. It was a really special crowd there, so to come here and to play at home [at] this stadium, Empower Field at Mile High, it's going to be really special. I can't wait."

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