A year after an AFC West championship and a win in the Wild Card Round of the AFC Playoffs, expectations were already high for the Broncos.
They only got higher with a free agency class that included four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.
But as far as Head Coach John Fox is concerned, he’ll let all the bold predictions come from outside the building.
“At the end of the day, I’ve been of the school (of thought) of understate, overproduce,” Fox said. “We’re obviously very pleased to have Peyton, yet we’re still trying to get ready as a football team, and we’re definitely not there yet.”
At the same time, Manning said the Broncos’ focus from the first day of offseason conditioning is on one thing — the Super Bowl.
“That’s our goal as a team every day,” Manning said. “That’s why we’re working hard, that’s why we pushed through two-a-days, that’s why we’ll be lifting weights here in 10 minutes, and trying to get better.”
Manning has reached that goal twice in his career, winning Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears.
Now in his 15th NFL season, the quarterback’s desire to get to the top of the league each and every year hasn’t waned.
“I really have tried to play with a sense of urgency since I’ve been 22 years old,” he said. “I think it’s only fair to the players on that current team that you give your very best. We all know that there’s not many players — the same players aren’t on the team in 2012 as they are in 2013, so it’s only fair to the people here that you’re giving your best effort in trying to have a sense of urgency, in trying to win now.”
But the next task ahead of the Broncos is the third game of the preseason, likely the starters’ final tune-up before the regular season begins. And Manning echoed Fox’s sentiment — the team still has work to do.
“There is a lot of time, and a lot of things are going to happen, between now and when the Super Bowl is played,” Manning said. “Our goal right now is to get better this week, play well against San Francisco, and try to beat Pittsburgh (in the regular-season opener).”