DENVER—Maybe, John Elway got the idea from being around all those tough guys from years gone by.
After kibitzing with several former Broncos greats during a Ring of Fame ceremony Friday night for coach Red Miller and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, Elway was asked about what’s gone wrong with his team at present.
The team carries a five-game losing streak into play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I will tell ya, I think we got a little bit soft,’’ Elway said. “To be dead honest with you, we got a little bit soft. We went 4-0 in the preseason, we started 3-1 we get a bye week and if you exhale in this league? You’re in trouble.
“And you know what, to be dead honest with you, I think we exhaled, and it’s hard to recover from that. It will be a lesson that hopefully we all learned and can prevent it from happening in the future.’’
Whoa. Among the former greats at the Ring of Fame ceremony were Tom Jackson, Karl Mecklenburg, Rubin Carter – Rubin Carter! – Dennis Smith, Paul Howard, Billy Thompson and Rod Smith.
What’s bothered Elway most about the losing streak is the team has not shown much fight, losing by an average score of 19.4 points. It’s been outscored in the first quarter, 55-9 during the skid.
“You’re going to lose football games in this league, but the way it’s gone about it, not being competitive is probably the thing that concerns me the most,’’ he said. “I think we have it on our football team. We’ve got to learn to be able to battle through those. Obviously, they’ve come in clumps and we haven’t been able to overcome it. But until we do overcome that, you know, it’s going to tough to win football games.’’
Elway supported Vance Joseph as a first-year head coach going through growing pains.
“I’ve gone through losing streaks before and losses and tough seasons, but the way we’ve lost these games has been the most disappointing thing,’’ Elway said. “But I think we have the right type of guys. They’re working hard and the desire is still there. They know the expectations and we’re not out of this thing.’’
The Broncos are 3-6, but their next six opponents have losing records, starting with the 3-6 Bengals on Sunday. The chance to rebound is why Elway didn’t want to comment about whether he wanted to see second-year, first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch play before this season is finished.
“I mean this when I say this, I’m not looking past Sunday,’’ Elway said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time. When you get in these type things that’s all you can do. Everybody has an answer, everybody has a solution and they’re not that easy. The bottom line is when you get in one of these slumps, you’ve got to work hard day-in and day-out to get out of it and that’s what we’re doing.’’