The Broncos have improved, but there’s still a little ways to go.
That was the overall takeaway from Broncos Head Coach John Fox, just hours after Denver lost a close game to the Oakland Raiders 23-20 in the season opener Monday night.
Fox talked with reporters on a conference call at noon Tuesday and said that the staff is already preparing for Cincinnati on Sunday, given that this is a short week. However, he had a chance to watch some film on last night’s game.
“We’re learning about our team, what we can do well and what we can’t do well,” Fox said. “There’s a need for improvement like all opening games — I’ve been a part of many of them. It’s your first step out of the blocks, and I don’t think I’ve been with one that it’s gone perfectly. Obviously we have some things to work on, and we will do that as we move forward.”
Fox mentioned the turnovers (two lost fumbles and one interception) and sacks (quarterback Kyle Orton was sacked five times) as areas that ultimately hurt the Broncos the most.
“When you lose the turnover battle, and the sack battle as well as the explosive-play battle, I think you end up on the short end,” Fox said. “It was a three-point game that we had our opportunities as far as the first game of the season, and we didn’t seize it.”
Denver also netted only 38 rushing yards Monday night — compared to Oakland’s 190 — and Fox said that while there is improvement to be made along the offensive line, he is confident in the unit’s ability to progress.
“Just like anything, nothing worth a darn comes easy, so it will take a lot of hard work,” Fox said. “We have one game under our belt, and tomorrow we will start preparing for Cincinnati.”
Fox didn’t address one specific area of the team that stood out — whether positive or negative. When asked about quarterback Kyle Orton, Fox said there was some bright spots, such as his solid passing night, going 24-for-46 for 304 yards and one touchdown, but also areas needing improvement, such as his interception and fumble.
Yet, Fox made it clear he has complete faith in Orton moving forward.
“I thought he had some good, some bad like everybody else on the team,” Fox said. “We came up a little short. There were plenty of reasons why. It wasn’t just a quarterback by any stretch. Kyle is our starting quarterback, and I don’t think too many guys are firing their whole teams if they happened to be part of half of the teams that lost in Week 1.”
Whether it was his press conference after the game, or the call the following day, that was a consistent theme in Fox’s message — it was the opening game and the Broncos are in the same position as half the teams in the league. He likes what he’s seen from his players in the last month and a half, and he believes in them.
“Our team played very hard and unfortunately came up a little short,” Fox said. “We’ve got good guys in that locker room. I think we’ve got a good blend of veteran leadership. I think the young guys we have showed up and played pretty well. I’ve been here for five games — four preseason and one regular season — I’ve not been disappointed with that aspect.”