ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos look to turn the corner from an 0-3 start, a return to Empower Field at Mile High may be just what the team needs to get rolling.
“Any time you come home you have to protect home turf and that’s what we want to do here,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said Tuesday. “We want to put on a show at home.”
Though the Broncos haven’t been able to convert decent play into a win quite yet, Harris thinks the team sits on the verge of a victory.
“It’s a different feeling right now,” Harris said. “Even though we’re 0-3, we don’t have that end-of-the-world feeling right now. We know that we’re close. We’ve done some good things, but we have to learn not to beat ourselves. We’ve been beating ourselves for a couple years lately. We have to be able to end that and get it right and kind of just let that go, man — just put it behind us in the past. We’ve been beating ourselves too long.”
Harris said the defense’s fundamentals and alignments haven’t always been perfect, and that’s affected the team’s ability to get meaningful stops and takeaways.
Teams are playing “safe” against the Broncos right now, and Denver must change that if they’re going to get sacks, takeaways and a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“I think [turnovers and sacks] work together just like the secondary and the D-line work together, and right now, sometimes we’re kind of off,” Harris said. “We’ll have great coverage in the back end and the D-line rush will be lacking. They’ll have a great rush and we’ll be lacking in the coverage. We have to get on the same page, working together and making sure we have great coverage and great pressure at the same time. We haven’t been able to do that at the same time. That’s what we need.”
As Harris and the Broncos’ defense fight to improve, Emmanuel Sanders and the offense will do the same.
After Sunday’s game, Sanders said he was living in a “world of suck,” and he backed that comment up on Tuesday.
“I don’t regret it because that’s where we are,” Sanders said. “We are living in a world of suck. I’m not going to sit up here and be fake with you guys or lie to you guys and say, ‘Oh yeah, we are 0-3, and I’m having the time of my life.’ Who does that? I’m a competitor, I love to compete, but at the same time, you guys know me, I’m very positive. At the same time, we are living in a world of suck.
“Living in a world of suck is a military term in which military people say, ‘We’re living in a world of suck, but we’re going to embrace the world of suck.’ Right? And that has always been my mindset. You’re never going to see me say, ‘Oh yeah, times are hard, and I give up.’ I’m never going to give up. You guys are going to see me back at it in Empower Field [at Mile High] on Sunday trying to get a win and still understanding that we’re an 0-3 football team trying to work ourselves out of a hole, so that’s where I stand.”
Still, Sanders recognizes the Broncos are in a different situation than just a few years ago when they marched to a Super Bowl 50 win. Just five players who appeared in that game remain on the roster.
“We’re young and we’ve got some young guys,” Sanders said. “I look at [TE] Noah Fant, a young guy. I look at [OL] Dalton [Risner]. I still look at [T Garett] Bolles, he’s young. The year we went to the Super Bowl, we had veteran guys even on the special teams. We had older guys on the special teams. We’re young. I understand that sometimes it can get frustrating because you want to win, but at the same time you’ve got to understand these guys are young and they’ve got to grow to be professionals. You don’t step into the NFL and say, ‘Oh yeah, that guys is a pro.’ Some people it takes three or four years for them to even get in the groove of it. You’ve got to understand, you guys are just thinking about football, but these guys are balancing stuff off the field to try to just get a rhythm of just being a true pro.”
Don’t think that means Sanders isn’t still focused on winning in 2019. As a competitor fighting against the world of suck, Sanders doesn’t want to wait to win.
“I think we have a good enough team to win now,” Sanders said. “We’ve just got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and I feel like that’s what we’ve been doing. Hopefully we can stop doing that.”