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NEWSFLASH: John Elway hates to lose

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So as he told Adam Schefter, he’s in the process of getting things ‘fixed’ in Denver.

NFL: New York Jets at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

John Elway sat down with ESPN’s Adam Schefter while attending the NFL league meeting -and the six-minute segment at the end of Schefty’s podcast is definitely worth a listen.

But until you have time to listen for yourselves, here’s the upshot:

John Elway hates to lose (duh).

He doesn’t intend to have a losing season again.

He really isn’t sure yet what player position the Broncos will pick at No. 5.

And he never forgets his dad’s main philosophy when it comes to evaluating players.

(Oh, you didn’t think I was going to tell you what the main Jack Elway philosophy was, did you? You have to read to the end for that.)

Going 5-11 is no fun for anyone - especially Elway

We all know Elway is a competitor and that he despised last season’s 5-11 record as much as anyone.

Schefter, a former Broncos beat reporter, noted that his first year covering the Broncos in 1990 was also the year Elway-the-quarterback’s Broncos went 5-11.

So which is harder, he asked, 5-11 as a QB or GM?

“It’s no fun either way, but probably harder as an executive,” Elway said. “[As a GM] you can’t get things fixed during the season. But we’re in the middle of getting them fixed now.”

And when Schefter asked Elway if there is anything more miserable than going 5-11, the GM responded succinctly, “No. There is not.”

Which is why Elway has no intention of going 5-11 again.

“It made me realize how much I hate losing because it was a long year,” Elway added.

So he went and got a free agent quarterback in Case Keenum, which he believes is going to be great for this team.

“We knew he was a great kid - the way he worked and the type of leadership skills that he had,” Elway said.

Elway and trusted friend/adviser Gary Kubiak also believe strongly that the way Keenum played at Minnesota last year, and taking them to the NFC Championship, is the way Keenum will play in Denver - smart but still gutsy.

“He’s reached that point where he’s going to play well and play well year in and year out - and hopefully play well for a long time,” Elway said.

Better offense, defense on the way

Now it’s about building the team back to a winning culture.

“Never say never. Things could happen and the ball bounces funny ways, but hopefully we can stay healthy and continue to get back on track with better play at the QB position,” Elway said, adding that he expects better defensive play next season too. “Defensive play like we’re capable of. Even though we had good numbers yardage-wise, we were still 21st in scoring. We’ve got to get our defense back on track.”

With tremendous improvement at the quarterback position and added talent on the O-line, D-line and secondary through free agency, Elway has some flexibility with the No. 5 pick.

But he’s giving no hints which way he may personally be leaning.

He may go quarterback.

He may not.

Stay tuned until April 26.

“Adam, that’ll be wide open,” Elway told Schefter candidly. “It’ll change time and time again. We’ll go through all the different scenarios and go through each plan...I’m betting we won’t know what direction until the day of or day before. We’ll set our board and set our scenarios and see where it takes us.”

Elway also gave no hints as to which quarterback in the draft he might prefer. Noting each QB has strengths and weaknesses, he plans to evaluate each one just like they’ll evaluate all the players - meticulously.

Schefter did his best to get some hint about Elway’s take on Baker Mayfield - especially after coaching Mayfield and Josh Allen at the Senior Bowl - but No. 7 was not compromising his huddle.

“Baker - he’s a hard-nosed competitor. He takes things serious,” Elway offered. “In our work on Baker, when we dig into him, we’ll look at his background and those things that have happened to him and evaluate what kind of influence they’ll have on our decision.”

So there.

But what Elway can tell us is that he definitely wishes he could ask his dad - the late Jack Elway - a couple of things from time to time.

“I think about that a lot - ‘what would Jack do?’ I think he’d be pretty proud. We’ve had some success and it’s been good success - won a Super Bowl,” Elway said. “It’d sure be nice to go to him a couple of times and ask his advice. I think for the most part he’d be proud of it.”

Mostly what Elway would want to consult is his dad’s evaluation of players.

“His No. 1 philosophy was speed, so I never forget about speed,” Elway the younger said.
“You look at all his teams, they all had great speed.”

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