ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In Garett Bolles' six-year NFL career, the Broncos' starting left tackle has played for three different head coaches.
Soon, he'll play for a fourth.
The Broncos are in the midst of a search for a new head coach, and after playing for three first-time head coaches, Bolles said Monday he can see the value in selecting an experienced coach to lead the way in Denver.
"I think it's always valuable when you have a coach that's been successful or has coached in this league a long time," Bolles said. "It's hard just to come in and think you have all the answers. … You've got to surround yourself with key people, you've got to surround yourself with people that have been in this league and understand this league because this league can chew you up and spit you out. That's just the reality of the NFL. You've got to know who you are. You've got to be consistent. Having a consistent coach is going to be vital for us. Somebody that's disciplined, somebody that has accountability and that doesn't break their rules. That's what we need. We need a tough guy to come in here and a true leader that can lead this ship to victory. That's what we need."
Quarterback Russell Wilson previously spoke about how the Broncos are looking for a winner, and wide receiver KJ Hamler echoed that sentiment on Monday.
"I just want a coach who wants to win," Hamler said. "Not saying 'Hack' [former head coach Nathaniel Hackett] didn't want to win or nothing like that. 'Hack' was a great coach. Appreciate 'Hack' to the fullest. … [The Broncos need a coach who will] just come in here to work. A coach that's not going to play around. We just want a coach to win. I think we've got all the pieces to win — I know we do."
As the Broncos cleaned out their lockers Monday and turned their attention toward 2023, Bolles and Hamler were just two of the players who spoke about what they'd like to see in a new head coach. Several Broncos, though, also explained that an incoming head coach would find a solid locker room and a team that's ready to work.
"Whoever they bring in, just know we've got a group of guys that's going to buy in [and is] ready to work," center Lloyd Cushenberry III said, "and we've got a lot of leaders in this locker room that's going to put some good work in."
Cushenberry and his teammates recognize the Broncos have not met their standard in recent years, but they're ready to put in the work to return to the postseason. Combine that mindset with a talented defense, a crop of offensive players returning from injury and quarterback Russell Wilson, and the Broncos are confident in the direction in which they're headed.
"We have a lot of grit, we have a lot of fighters on this team," Bolles said. "We have a lot of guys that want to win and be successful. Guys like me, Justin Simmons, Brandon McManus — we've been here for a while. We've seen a lot of turnover, a lot of change, but this team's hungry to win."
No matter which coach the Broncos select, defensive end DeShawn Williams is confident Denver won't experience the same disappointment it did in 2022. With Wilson under center and the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group guiding the coaching search, Williams believes better days are ahead.
"I know next year for sure it won't be how it was this year," Williams said. "I know that for sure. I know '3' ain't going to allow it. I know the owners are damn sure not going to allow it."