Elway says not trading stars, will see team through dive
DENVER (AP) — John Elway says that despite Denver's 1-4 start, none of his veteran players are on the trading block and the general manager remains committed to seeing his beloved Broncos out of their prolonged plummet.
The Broncos have won just 18 of their last 50 games and haven't been to the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning's final NFL game over three years.
Another slow start, this time under yet another new coach in Vic Fangio and yet another quarterback in Joe Flacco, has led to speculation the Broncos will shop veterans Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe and even scuffling superstar Von Miller ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline.
"You guys bring all those names up. I have not brought any names up," Elway said Friday to reporters at an event outside Denver's stadium honoring Hall of Fame inductees Champ Bailey and Pat Bowlen , along with some of the team's all-time top 100 players, which included Elway and Manning.
"We're trying to win football games," Elway said. "So, no one from our side is on the trading block. We're going to try to continue to win football games."
Elway said he's frustrated that it's taken so long to turn around Denver's dive and reiterated a point he made this summer to The Associated Pres that his job isn't enjoyable right now — but he stressed he has no plans to walk away before fixing the team he led to two Super Bowl titles as a Hall of Fame quarterback and another as a front-office executive.
"I think the hardest thing about losing is you get in a situation to where something bad happens in a game and you say, 'Here we go again,' and that is a very tough thing to break," Elway said. "That's what we've got to get out of. I think it's hurt us a couple of times. But we went out and got one last week and so we've got to continue to stay positive with it and work our way through it."
The Broncos, who host Tennessee (2-3) on Sunday, lost their first four games under Fangio, including two home games on last-second field goals, before snapping an eight-game overall skid with a 20-13 road win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Elway said he's committed to staying on and fulfilling his contract; he's about halfway through a five-year extension signed in July 2017.
"Yeah, I don't like to lose," Elway said. "You know, it's not enjoyable. But all we can do is continue to work. Not a whole lot we can do now except try to play better."
Beyond safety Kareem Jackson, Elway's 2018 free agent class has been a bust so far. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) and receiving running back Theo Riddick (shoulder) haven't played and right tackle Ja'Wuan James (knee) has played just 10 snaps.
Callahan's absence has hurt the most, forcing Fangio to shuffle his secondary. He recently had another procedure on his surgically repaired left foot.
"It's been frustrating for everybody this year, including him," Elway said. "We'll see how the last thing goes and see if he'll be able to get back this year or not. We're hopeful, but we really don't know."
Elway said he likes the way Fangio has handled the tough times, saying, "he's been a pillar," and he sees Flacco and first-time offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello are "growing together and getting more comfortable with each other."
Elway said he hasn't made any decision on which of his sidelined players will come off injured reserve. One of those is rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who sprained the throwing thumb on his right hand in the preseason and is eligible to return to practice next week.
Also receiving an endorsement from Elway was Miller, who has just two sacks so far and lost pass-rush partner Bradley Chubb to a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago.
"It's frustrating for Von, he gets a lot of attention," Elway said. "But I think he'll keep working at it, stay after it. He's still the same player he always has been. ... But you know, you lose a player like Chubb on the other side, it's not going to help Von."