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DT gets real about this Broncos team while Elway stays the course with its coach

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Orange And Blue Radio had some interesting interviews Monday, including the most candid conversation from Demaryius Thomas in his entire Broncos career as well as some tough questions with GM John Elway.

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Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Demaryius Thomas spoke with Rod Smith on Orange & Blue Radio Monday afternoon, and it was the most candid conversation you’ve ever heard from DT.

And it was as much heartbreaking as it was heartwarming.

DT loves Denver, loves the Broncos, loves the fans - and he didn’t want to go. But he was still able to joke about it with all-time great Rod Smith: “They got me out of here before I could even break all Rod’s records!” he laughed.

And in a crafty blame-shift, Smith put it on Shannon Sharpe, joking that the Hall-of-Fame tight end was the one most worried about DT catching him on the all-time receptions leaderboard (Smith is tops with 849 then Sharpe at 675 and Thomas with 665).

“You’ve got a couple years to catch me, but you were going to pass Shannon Sharpe this week probably,” Smith laughed.

But the most revealing part of the conversation came when DT was clarifying his comment to Mike Silver in which took a dig at his former team for losing games at the end.

The crux of his issue was with coaches not listening to what players were seeing on the field.

“If you want to be better, you’ve got to listen to your players. They’ve been playing for a long time,” Thomas said. “There were games I wanted to change stuff up on the field because I knew it would make us better. I used to do that with Peyton.

“I’m the talent. You watch film, but when I see something and you’re not on the field with me, let’s just try to do something different,” he added. “I guarantee it’ll be better for the squad.”

Thomas reiterated he wasn’t bashing the Broncos, but he wanted to win and he felt like the coaches needed to spend some time listening.

“I’m not bashing nobody. I love football. I love winning. I’ve been studying so long,” he said. “We could do special things if we just did things together as a group.”

The veteran wideout pointed out that he’s been learning since he came to Denver nine years ago - often from the likes of Rod Smith and other greats before him. He’s been passing that knowledge on to the younger guys, and he believes his knowledge of the game and contribution with the young guys was overlooked by coaches.

“When I got here, Rod knew I didn’t know shit. I was just big and I could run. Rod just stayed on me and stayed on me and as the years go, everything got better,” Thomas said, admitting he didn’t know the pro game coming from the triple option at Georgia Tech. “I was raw as all raw. When I got information from Rod, starting giving it to the younger guys.”

DT was clearly unhappy with how the entire situation went down - hearing rumors of being traded all season but being told by Vance Joseph that it wasn’t happening and then hearing from his agent that it was - but he also acknowledged feeling unappreciated.

“I never cried about getting the ball. I didn’t bitch about nothing. I’m sorry,” he said, admitting that talking about it gets him emotional. “It just hurts. I’m empty. I’m just empty still.”

John Elway staying the course with current coaches

Speaking with Dave Logan, Elway said he was going to “stay the course” when Logan asked if he planned any changes heading into the two-week bye.

“We’re going to stay the course. There are enough good things going on as far as us and the way that we’re playing,” Elway said. “I am much more encouraged this year than I was last year. Guys are still playing hard, and we’re in the games. Unfortunately for EVERYBODY - not only players but also fans - we haven’t made the plays to get over the hump.”

Elway acknowledged that the teams who win are the ones who can make those plays at the end of the game, on third down, on fourth down, etc., and are able to do it consistently.

“We’ve just not been able to do it,” he said.

But Elway isn’t ready to hold Vance Joseph accountable for all the team’s mistakes on Sunday.

Admitting that kicking a 62-yard field goal is “obviously a long kick (laughs) and would have been a hard kick to make,” Elway pointed out that if the offense had come out in the second half and gotten things going instead of another three-and-out, the game would also be a different story.

His point?

That you can always point to the obvious decisions that didn’t work out and say the opposite choice would have been better.

“Again, you’ve got to take advantage when you do have the ball,” he said. “Hindsight is always 20/20 but there’s a lot of other times during the game, if we had done some things differently, could have changed the outcome also.”

As for the 51-yard miss at the end of the game, Elway hesitated to second-guess Joseph for not stopping the clock after second down and trying to go for a few more yards to give Brandon McManus an easier kick.

Joseph’s thinking was that the Texans’ front seven was getting the best of the Broncos’ o-line, and he didn’t want a sack or a tipped pass or something that could take away a field goal that was at a distance they were confident McManus could make.

“The last thing we wanted to do was make a mistake and go backwards. In that situation, we didn’t want to take any chances. With Brandon and the year he’s having, we could trust him at 50, 51, 52 yards,” Elway said, adding that the kick itself probably wouldn’t have even been good had the Broncos been much closer. “I’m not sure that kick is good at 35 because he pushed it to the right, so whether it was from 30, 35, 40, it was going to be right anyway.”

Focusing on the positive, Elway pointed out that Case Keenum had his best game to date, and the team overall showed a lot of good things.

“Case gave us a chance to win at the end, obviously we weren’t able to close the deal,” Elway said. “We have to figure out how to make plays to win it.”

Maybe Elway should call DT; he had some ideas.