LONDON — As the Broncos approach the midway point of the season, it should come as little surprise that the team's primary focus is to find a way to start winning.
General Manager George Paton said Thursday that the team has struggled to overcome preventable mistakes, and those small errors have made the difference in close games. Ahead of the 2-5 Broncos' matchup with the Jaguars on Sunday, Paton emphasized the need to correct those errors in order to find success.
"What we've learned [is] we need to make plays at the end of games to win games, and we haven't done that," Paton said. "In all our games, we've either fumbled a punt or didn't make a catch. Just a lot that goes into it. Even last year, I felt this team needed to learn how to win. We're still learning, unfortunately."
There is no clear answer on how a team can learn to win. Paton noted that most of the Broncos' games have been down to the wire, and the tide can turn quickly if they learn how to close out close games.
"You win," Paton said. "[To learn how to win games,] you just win. If we knew, we'd all have that magic potion. We've been in every game. It hasn't always been pretty, but we're right in it, and we just need to come out the other side."
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett echoed that sentiment, recalling that several of the Broncos' losses have come down to just a few correctable plays. Once they start connecting at the right moments, Hackett noted that the team can start building positive momentum.
"You look back at every single play that we've had this year, and we do that all the time with the coaches, and for sure, it's a play here, it's a play there," Hackett said. "They just have to learn from that and see how close we really are. It might not look [like] it at times, but a couple plays make a game look completely different. They've just got to feel that, understand that — and once those plays start coming, be able to grow off that."
Hackett emphasized that they cannot just wait for plays to come to them; when big moments arise, the team has to find a way to create plays.
"That's the key, is in this game, you've got to make plays when those are there," Hackett said. "Sometimes they're not there; you've got to create it yourself, and that's part of learning how to play the game, learning how to win consistently. Like we always say, sometimes you've just got to make a play."
KEEPING CORE PLAYERS
The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and trade rumors have circulated in regard to multiple Broncos players.
Paton noted that other teams have expressed interest in trading for some Broncos players, but he emphasized that keeping the team's best players is important to him and the Broncos' front office.
"I work the phones a lot," Paton said. "And then they call; I talk to GMs all the time. So, we have received calls. Obviously, nothing imminent. We're going to do whatever's best for this football team, and we do like our players. We're not in the mode of getting rid of our really good players."
Asked specifically about outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, Paton said he would keep any contract talks between him, Chubb and Chubb's representation.
"You know how much we like Bradley," Paton said. "We want to keep all of our core players, and he's one of our core players."
As trade rumors have circled, wide receiver KJ Hamler's name has also been brought up as a possible player to be traded. Hamler is aware of the conversations, but he said he is solely focused on preparing for the game against the Jaguars this weekend.
"Yeah, I heard a few of them," Hamler said. "I'm not worried about that, I'm just focused on the game, focused on doing my job, doing the best that I can. I've got to think of the business side from now. If it happens, it happens. I hope it doesn't, I'd love to stay here, but I'm not really worried about that. I'm focused on the game right now."
Paton also added that the outcome of Sunday's game does not necessarily impact how the Broncos will handle the trade deadline.
"Really, we're just trying to win this game," Paton said. "[It] really shouldn't have any impact on what we do. We just look forward to Sunday."