Even in victory, Broncos can't hide flaws
The Broncos call themselves contenders, but there's overwhelming evidence to the contrary, writes Gene Wojciechowski.
DENVER -- About the nicest thing you can say about the Denver Broncos is that their uniforms make them look like very large traffic cones. Otherwise, there's no reason to pay attention to this team.Not yet, at least. Yes, I know, they upset the sluggish Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-28, on a meat-freezer-cold Sunday night at Invesco Field. Thing is, you couldn't tell who was more surprised by the outcome, the Steelers or the Broncos. OK, that's not exactly true. The Broncos insist that the last-second victory was no accident, that they were never as crummy as their 2-3 record and three-game losing streak made them look. "I kept telling you guys we were confident in the locker room," said quarterback Jay Cutler, who remains a work in progress. "We had a bye week. We knew we were a good team. We just weren't playing up to our potential."
Cutler wasn't the only one to chide reporters about their lack of faith in the Broncos. Cornerback Dre Bly, whose injured right shoulder featured a puncture mark from a pain-killing shot, happily provided the obligatory cliché.
There's a big difference between a step and a leap. The Broncos are 3-3, but four of their next six games are on the road. The two home games are against the Packers and Tennessee. So good luck with that."We know we're a championship-caliber team," Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams said. "Definitely a playoff team." If that's a promise and a prediction, the Broncos need someone other than Elam to win games. Otherwise, this city could become the unthinkable. A Rockies town.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He co-authored Jerome Bettis' autobiography, "The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet," which is available now.
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