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Elway’s State of the Broncos: OTA edition

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 28, 2017


DENVER — “The Duke” doesn’t speak often, but when he does, he captivates Broncos Country, and for good reason, too.

Not only is Elway the biggest name in the history of Colorado sports, he has the the best seat in the house when it comes to the current Broncos, literally. During practice, No. 7 can often be found on the sideline or on his office balcony overlooking the field.

In just the past four months, the organization has overturned their coaching staff, made significant additions in free agency, added a new rookie class and is still in the thick of a quarterback battle.

After confirming that he expects to sign a contract extension to remain with the team before the start of the 2017 season at a recent event, Elway gave his take on the state of the team.

Much like the POTUS during the State of the Union, Elway had a positive spin on the state of the organization that he has been apart of for 34 years, understandably so.

Quarterback battle here to stay

On the field, Elway was never truly apart of a quarterback battle — he was always the guy. Now, for the second year in a row, he’s overseeing an intense competition that he believes will likely go deep into the summer just as it did last year, saying, “It’s over a long haul.”

“There’s no lead,” the general manager and vice president of football operations said during Week 1 of OTAs. “We’re going to keep throwing it out there, and they’re going to keep playing, and we have a long time to go until we finally get to that opener in September.”

Through the first three days of OTAs, albeit a small sample size during practice, the former quarterback was encouraged, to say the least, with what he saw from both young quarterbacks.

“I think that with a new offense, Paxton [Lynch] and Trevor [Siemian] have both looked tremendous the first couple days. It’s been very encouraging with the way that they’ve both looked.”

Although Elway drafted both — Siemian in the seventh-round in 2015 and Lynch in the first-round of 2016 — he won’t be the one making the final decision on who will start.

“Vance [Joseph] and the staff will pick the right guy,” he said. “But, they’re all going to work. We’re very fortunate in the fact that we have two young quarterbacks that can really play. So, I’m excited about that.”

Coach making boss proud

Along with the young quarterbacks, another aspect of the team that Elway is excited about is the new “young” coach that he hired in January. When Joseph, 44, was going through the interview process with the Broncos, he was praised for his ability to connect with players and be a leader of men. So far, he’s checked both of those boxes with flying colors, and his boss has noticed.

“He’s been great with his relationship with his players, and how he can deal with the players. He’s been tremendous,” Elway said. “That’s what I really liked when we talked to him in the interview process, and he’s just proven us to be right 100 percent. He’s going to continue to get better, and he is. I’m so excited about where we are.”

The new guy is making a good impression, but the evaluation process has only just begun.

“Vance is doing a tremendous job, the staff is doing a good job,” he concluded on the matter. “We’re in a good spot right now, but we have to continue to keep working.”

Rookies in rarefied air

It’s only been one month since Elway and his front office had their most important weekend of the year — the draft. During the three-day stretch, the team added eight new rookies through the draft and an additional 15 undrafted free agents.

The rookies have only been allowed to be at the Broncos’ facility since May 11, yet they are already turning heads in the building.

“I’m really happy with the way that the draft class and our [college free agents] are working,” Elway shared. “I was talking to the weight coaches the other day, getting feedback from them. This is as good as class as we’ve had when it comes down to getting work done. That’s very encouraging, and that’s a great start.”

While an encouraging start is all Elway could have hoped for in May, he’s well aware that championships aren’t won in the offseason. As summer approaches, it’s all sunshine, but the work has just scratched the surface.

“Obviously with the football team that we have and the strides that they’re making, we’re excited about where we are,” he said. “We still have eight OTAs, and minicamp to get to training camp…We still have a lot of work to do.”


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