ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The calendar has yet to flip to November, and more than 60 percent of the NFL schedule has yet to be played.
Ten games remain on the Broncos' schedule, and the team still has every opportunity to determine its fate in 2021.
But as outside linebacker Von Miller explained Thursday, there's no time to waste.
Over the past five seasons, Miller has seen the way that losing streaks have defined a season and crippled the Broncos' playoff chances. He knows that after four consecutive losses, the Broncos have little choice but to respond. And while several of his teammates said this week that it's not time to panic, Miller upped the urgency.
"If you ask me, the Ravens game, it was time to go," Miller said. "We've got a lot of different personalities and a lot of different styles of leadership. I wouldn't necessarily call it panicking, but it's time to sound the alarm. The sense of urgency has to be at an all-time high. We can't go out here and lose. However you want to shade it and however you want to lace it up so the pressure doesn't seem real and whatever it may be, but the pressure is real. This is reality. We've lost four games in a row after winning three. We can't lose too many more if we want to be the team that we set out to be at the beginning of the year, if we want to go out here and win games later on in the postseason.
"The time is now. The time is now to win. I love those guys, but I don't really agree with that. The time is now to win."
Miller's direct message increases the already high stakes on this weekend's game, but he said he views honesty as one of his responsibilities as one of the team's leader.
"If it's coming from your heart and it's true and it's real and it's reality, you just got to say it and you've just got to keep on moving," Miller said. "That's the only thing that's going to get us out of the hole we're in."
Yet while the Broncos' 3-4 record may appear daunting to many outside of the organization, Miller said he's taken a more positive approach when looking at the team's schedule.
"I'm looking at our four losses and I'm like, 'Man, it looks bad on paper, but if we just win two of those games, like we're at the head of the AFC,'" Miller said. "Just two of those games. The Ravens, it got away from us. The Raiders, it got away from us, too. But if we could beat the Pittsburgh Steelers or go out and beat the Browns, both of those games, it's a totally different complexion of this team. And that's where I choose to keep my mind."
As he looks forward, he'll keep the same mentality that he's had in 11 years with the franchise. So long as he wears the orange and blue, he'll continue to strive to bring the Broncos back to their old heights.
"I'm going to continue to try to do my part to put us back on the mountaintop," Miller said. "I'm going to continue to [get us] to be the type of franchise that this franchise has been historically. I'm going to continue to do that. I go to sleep trying to do that, I wake up trying to do that and I'm going to keep trying to do it until I'm not here anymore."
'I'M BACK IN ACTION'
The last several weeks have not been easy for wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
After catching six passes for 72 yards in the early part of Denver's Week 1 game, Jeudy had to sit out the ensuing six games with a high-ankle sprain. At last, that wait appears to be coming to an end.
"Of course [it's frustrating], especially just being on the sideline, and not being able to compete with your team to go out there and try to win," Jeudy said Thursday. "It's very frustrating, but now I'm back in action and I'm ready to go."
Jeudy remains on injured reserve, but the Broncos seem poised activate him to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday's game.
"I think it gives [defenses] one more really, really good player to defend," Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said of Jeudy. "Any defensive coordinator will tell you if there's zero guys to defend, they're loving it. If there's one, two, three or four or five, then they start to — they have to make decisions on how they're going to cover, and it might open some other things up. Not to say that the guys that played for Jerry didn't do a good job, but we're looking forward to having Jerry back."
Second-year tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could also rejoin the offense, which will be as close to full-strength as it has been since Week 1.
"He was getting better at everything he's done," Shurmur said of Okwuegbunam's play before his injury. "Actually, his run blocking was pretty good and coming along. Obviously, he can make plays down the field, in the end zone — those types of things. He's just becoming a more mature football player. I thought his sense of urgency had picked up, which is something that's good. Now we're getting him back much like Jerry, hopefully, and he can go on the field and have an impact."