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'We've got a big test coming in': John Elway evaluates opening weeks of 2021 season, start of GM George Paton's tenure

DENVER — As Broncos fans eagerly await a Week 6 matchup with the Raiders, so too does President of Football Operations John Elway.

"Obviously we've got a big test coming in on Sunday," Elway told on Friday. "The Raiders, they've lost two in a row too, so get them here in front of the home fans. It will be good for us. We've got to get back on track, because we do have a good football team."

Elway said that after a 3-0 start for the Broncos, a handful of plays has been the difference in Denver's back-to-back losses.

"We just haven't played as well," Elway said. "We made some crucial mistakes that killed us. In the NFL, there's four or five plays in every game that make a difference. The last two weeks, we haven't made those. The first three, we did."

During the first five weeks of the season, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has posted the league's 12th-highest QBR, and he's on pace for a career highs in completion percentage and touchdowns and a career low in interceptions.

Elway said Bridgwater has done "a heck of a job handling everything," but he noted that the team needs to do more to support the veteran quarterback.

"His leadership qualities that he's brought have been tremendous," Elway said. "We've got to do a better job of helping Teddy. If we do that, we'll win a lot of football games."

As Elway has watched Bridgewater and the 2021 Broncos, he has done so alongside General Manager George Paton.

"We have a lot of conversations, which is great," Elway said of working with Paton. "… I love being a sounding board for him. I'm really enjoying that. I'm glad he's handling the day-to-day stuff. It's great for us. We go to the football [games] and watch the games together, evaluate together. To be able to have those conversations [is great]. George, he's got a good grasp of everything that's going on and good feel for everything. The Broncos are in good shape for a long time with George."

Elway also reiterated how glad he was that Paton chose to join the Broncos this offseason.

"George is a grinder," Elway said. "He did a heck of a job waiting for his time and he had a lot of opportunities and … finally got the opportunity to come to Denver, and we're all thrilled he did, because he works his tail off. He does a tremendous job."


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