Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver Broncos Community!

A Sunday night dinner at Del Frisco’s shows that “something special is brewing” in Denver

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 20, 2019

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos had their hearts ripped out on Sunday afternoon.

After blowing a 20-0 halftime lead to the Vikings in excruciatingly painful fashion, and becoming the first team in the past five years to lose a game in which they led by 20 or more points at the half, the team was staring at a metaphorical fork in the road.

But instead of jumping ship after another losing plane ride home, the Broncos diverted. Instead of heading their own directions and separating from each other once the plane landed, the team took the opposite approach thanks to Von Miller.

The future Hall of Famer had a simple invitation to each and every one of his teammates.

Dinner. Del Frisco’s. 8:30 PM.

“Most” of the team couldn’t turn down such an offer, despite the team falling to 3-7 earlier in the day. From Austin Schlottmann to Kareem Jackson to Adam Gotsis’ brother, the team dinner felt more like a family affair.

“I had never seen nothing like it,” Will Parks, who was drafted by the Broncos the year after they won Super Bowl 50, said in amazement. “I had never been a part of anything where though we’re 3-7 and we went to a dinner because of the way things happened. I think it was one of the best things I’ve seen in all of my football life. So it’s pretty cool.”

“It was something that the Denver Broncos, since I’ve been here, haven’t done,” Parks elaborated. “I think that speaks dividends to No. 58. He got up and was like ‘Ay guys, the energy we had in practice that week, the energy the we had in the game, let’s keep it going. That was the funnest game we’ve ever played… I think the camaraderie and the charisma and the things we have, we just got to stick to it.”

As 12 ounce, $52 filet mignons were cut like butter and think-cut onion rings and lobster macaroni & cheese were passed around the table, specifics of the game weren’t mentioned.

“It wasn’t designed to talk about the game. It was more designed to keep guys in it,” Parks explained. “Keep guys in it. Keep guys into this coaching staff and to the culture that’s trying to be built around here and that’s ultimately how to win football games. I think Sunday night told us a lot about our team.”

Instead of allowing a 27-3 second-half scoring deficit define who the Broncos are, they took a different approach. Von’s message to the team continued by saying, “Look we can play with anybody. There’s nobody in this league that we can’t compete with,” Derek Wolfe told KOA on Monday.

“We were all just sitting around talking, ‘Imagine if we could get another year together with the defense,’” Wolfe, who is having a career year, continued. “But this is a business and not everybody can get paid. It’s just the way it goes. It’s the sad part of it because it takes time to build a team, and it takes time to build trust in the guys you’re playing next to. Once that’s developed, it makes it tough when you have to keep rotating guys in and out of there.”

Despite it being a large group of grown men, the dinner was “a heart to heart,” as Justin Simmons explained, with the outcome resulting in “we can feel something special is brewing” in Denver.

So what if this team could stay together? What if a piece or two could be added, specifically on the offensive side of the ball, and the defense could remain relatively intact?

“We got a good team. We just got to find ways to squeak it out,” Parks said. “If we got to go to dinner each and every night to try to build that one extra play—like if I look this guy in the eye and I know he got me on this one route or there are just so many different things that you can take into consideration when it comes to this game. So I think the culture here is you take something from each and every year and you add it onto the next year.”

Minutes before Simmons spoke with the media on Tuesday, he was still having these exact same conversations 36 hours after the delicious dinner with his teammates in the locker room.

“You can see the spurts of kind of the foundation that’s being built,” Simmons said with hope. “And obviously, we don’t want to sit here and have moral victories—we’re here 3-7, that the reality, we’re paid to win games and things like that. With that being said, you’re not going to have every year—unfortunately you’re not always going to be in it, unless you have the foundation over the years that has set you up and guys coming in and there’s that continuity of guys coming in and this is how it’s done and this is what we’re doing and this is how it’s going to be and this is our motto and our mantra for success.”

“So Vic being a first-year head coach here, installing a new defense, installing a new offense, you can see guys are buying in,” the fourth-year safety said. “The systems are working. Now for us, it’s figuring out how we all need to come together as one and figure out how to close games out defensively, find ways to—once we’re comfortable, the turnovers and takeaways will start becoming more and more easy and things like that.”

Sunday’s first half showed the world the Denver Broncos’ potential. For those 30 minutes, they didn’t look like a 3-7 team, eyeing a top five pick. They didn’t look like a team that had a first-time head coach and offensive coordinator. They didn’t look like a team with a quarterback making his second career start.

“That first half that we played, as a team—special teams, offense, defense—it wasn’t perfect, I mean obviously we were doing really well, but it wasn’t perfect, but the energy felt different, the vibe was just different from the times that I’ve been here the past three years. That game just felt different,” Simmons said, explaining the traits that can’t be quantified. “It felt like we were kind of gelling more and more each game as a team. It’s unfortunate the way it ended because it didn’t reflect how well we played in the first half and how hard we’ve been playing all season long.”

With four key defensive starters contracts expiring after the season—Chris Harris Jr., Shelby Harris, Wolfe, and Simmons—as well as Parks and Gotsis, the defense could look drastically different in six months from now.

But Simmons painted the green picture of what it could look like if the band is brought back together for one more tour.

“You put another year into it, another OTAs, another training camp, another preseason, and then you talk about going into the regular season kind of already having invested a good year and a half into what you already know and now polishing up the details, that’s what I was saying, you’ll just see things and read things easier,” Simmons said with excitement. “You’ll know how you’re going to get attacked. Defensively, you know how you’re going to react to certain plays that teams are scheming you for. I don’t want to put a ceiling on it, because that just means there’s limitations. But I think it’d be a really good defense to be apart of.”

As 24-ounce prime porterhouses, ringing up a cool $65, sizzled in a scalding-hot plate at Del Frisco’s on Sunday night, the Denver Broncos didn’t feel like a 3-7 team.

If the right pieces fall into place during the offseason and the defense stays relatively intact, Sunday night’s brotherly affair will go down as a piece to where it all began and the tides turned.


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?