A day after the Broncos lost for the sixth time in seven games when their spirited fourth-quarter rally fell short against the Rams, Head Coach Josh McDaniels explained some of the factors behind his team’s disappointing 3-8 record.
The head coach concluded there are no easy answers to his team’s recent inconsistency but took responsibility for that lack of success.
“I’ll be the first one to stand up and say, ‘I can do a better job doing what I’m doing,’ but I think that again, this is a team game — a situation where you have to have a lot of people do the right thing and execute it at a high level,” McDaniels said. “We’re playing against really well-coached and really well-put-together teams that play hard every week too.”
Earlier in the press conference, McDaniels vowed to focus on what he can control through the season’s final five games and continue to do his best to put the team in position to win on a week-to-week basis. The head coach pointed out that consistency remains a major goal for a team that has showed flashes of brilliance in recent weeks, such as a 49-29 home win against Kansas City on Nov. 14 and yesterday’s 20-point fourth quarter against the Rams.
It’s a positive outlook McDaniels hopes will serve his team well down the stretch of the season that includes three more division rematches and plenty of opportunities to show progress in many phases of the game despite a difficult last few weeks.
“There are no excuses — everybody else has injuries, everybody else has to fight through adversities, everybody else has to play home games and road games, everybody else has to deal with in-game problems or something that comes up on game day and everybody else — every once in awhile — gets outplayed or outcoached, because that’s just this league and it’s so competitive,” McDaniels said. “It’s not luck either. It’s not luck. You have to make yourself win in this league. You don’t just try to get close and then hope. That’s a bad game plan and I think our guys are still determined to try to go out there and play good football and coach good football — and that’s what it comes down to.”
After missing six games with a foot injury, Robert Ayers didn’t wait to make his presence felt on Sunday afternoon.
On the Rams’ first offensive play from scrimmage, Sam Bradford handed off to Steven Jackson. Ayers read the play quickly and dropped the former Pro Bowler for a 1-yard gain, setting the tone for a defensive effort that held Jackson to 2.5 yards per carry.
After the team’s 36-33 loss, Ayers, who finished the game with two tackles, remained positive about his first action since Oct. 10 in Baltimore.
“It felt real good,” Ayers said. “I was excited to be out there. The foot held up great. It didn’t bother me the whole game. I felt good cardio-wise. I just wish we could’ve got the win.”
The second-year linebacker warmed up before Monday night’s Week 11 game in San Diego but was ultimately not active. After another week of practice — this time with full participation — Ayers was more ready health-wise to play.
On Monday, McDaniels said Ayers showed signs of “rust from the time off,” such as when he got caught too far inside on a reverse and allowed Danny Amendola to get outside. But overall the head coach was pleased with the youngster’s progress in his return and hopeful he’ll continue to improve over the team’s final five games.
“I thought he’s getting back into that physical part of his game, which is really the thing you can’t work on for six-seven weeks when you’re not out there practicing,” McDaniels said. “He started to make some strides as the game went on in some of his bull rush techniques and did a decent job in the running game.”
McDaniels began his press session by announcing that Andre’ Goodman, Demaryius Thomas and Brian Dawkins will each likely miss Sunday’s game in Kansas City.
Goodman (hip) and Thomas (ankle) each missed yesterday’s game, while Dawkins hurt his knee in the third quarter of the loss.
McDaniels said Darcel McBath (quadricep) has a chance to play against the Chiefs after missing Sunday’s game, and Joe Mays, Jabar Gaffney, David Bruton and Kevin Vickerson sustained injuries against the Rams but “should be OK” as the week goes forward.