With the Houston Texans coming to town on Monday night, the Denver Broncos are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2011. This is the fourth time since the start of the 2012 season the Broncos have lost two in a row.
In each of the past three instances, they were able to staunch the bleeding and avoid that third consecutive loss. This time around, there are real concerns as to whether they can turn the ship around and it sounds like some of them are coming from inside Broncos headquarters.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-go-premium-sports-illustr... After taking a week off due to illness (complex migraine), head coach Gary Kubiak returned to his team on Monday. When he addressed the team on his first day back, he got straight down to business without even mentioning his health or physical well-being.
Two consecutive losses — one to the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense (Atlanta Falcons) and the other to the No. 2 offense (San Diego Chargers) — affords Kubiak and company little time to dwell on anything other than improvement.
With a little time back into the swing of things, it didn't take Kubiak long to pick up on the air of ambivalenc some players in the locker room were displaying toward their team's losing streak. According to Darren McKee of 104.3 The FAN, Kubiak "scolded" his team for not taking these losses seriously enough. Too much laughing and joking around for Kubiak's taste.
The Broncos have been in a rut like this before but they've always been able to climb out of it. They have the veteran experience to right the ship, but with Peyton Manning and David Bruton gone and DeMarcus Ware having been sidelined for a month, there are real questions on whether they have the leadership inside the locker room to turn it around.
Listening to the players this week, they seem to recognize the team's shortcomings of late but also understand that it's not the end of the world — so long as they learn from it and grow as a group.
"We lost two back-to-back games last year so we’ve been in this situation before as a team so we know that we can be able to bounce back from that and still have a great season," Chris Harris, Jr. said Monday.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1718509-denver-broncos-in-focus-w...Harris' partner, Aqib Talib, was equally optimistic when he shared his thoughts after Tuesday's practice, recognizing the need for improvement, but also pinpointing where the Broncos have to get better.
“We have to start faster and finish better," Talib said. "We have to do everything better. When you lose two games in a row, you want to come out and do everything better. To do everything better, you have to start so we’re definitely going to look for a fast start.”
Are some players taking these losses too lightly? Listening to Harris and Talib, I'm not struck with any sense of denial or vacillation.
They are pros, after all. It's dangerous to get caught on the emotional roller-coaster of really high highs, and low lows. In fact, it's the mark of a veteran team — even-keeled, no matter how last week's game turned out.
But Gary Kubiak obviously recognized something in their demeanor to cause him to get after his team. And the Broncos likely aren't too happy that Kubiak's reckoning leaked out of the building.
I am very interested to see how the Broncos react on gameday to Kubiak's challenge. The truth is, the Broncos are 4-2 and tied for first place in the division. They've stayed within striking distance of the other Conference front-runners, like New England and Pittsburgh.
There's still a lot of football left to be played. The Broncos have overcome adversity before. But those past stumbles and subsequent triumphs came with Peyton still in the building.
It remains to be seen how the Broncos will respond this week. I, for one, expect the Broncos to come out and play with a lot of intensity early and often on Monday night.
“If you need a motivation for winning, you’re probably in the wrong business," Talib said Tuesday. "We’re aware that we lost two games in a row. This is a big game for us.”
I know for a fact, and we've heard it from the players, that they're particularly geeked up for Brock Osweiler's return to the Mile High City.
I fully expect the Broncos to welcome Osweiler back as only the defending World Champions can.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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