ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Reality has taken a bite out of the holiday season for the Denver Broncos.
And even a three-day weekend didn’t really make the Broncos feel that much better about the way this season has unfolded. Their best possible finish remains 7-9 in what will be their second consecutive playoff miss after five consecutive AFC West titles.
After the Broncos defeated the Indianapolis Colts 25-13 on Thursday night, coach Vance Joseph gave a team that had its bye in Week 5 three days off. While the rest was nice, it still didn’t soothe all the bruises the past few months have left behind.
“It was good, I was kind of happy they had some games on Saturday," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said Monday. “It made the weekend go by a little bit faster. Like I said, it just sucks when you look forward to playing in January in those big games and win the AFC championship, but we can’t look forward to it. We’re just trying to have fun playing football the last two games and finish as strong as possible."
The Broncos will play on the road Sunday against the Washington Redskins and finish out their season New Year’s Eve against the Kansas City Chiefs. Many players in the locker room were with the Broncos back when the holiday season was the time playoff seeding became the biggest topic of conversation and a playoff bye was needed.
Instead, it is Joseph now trying to maintain the sliver of momentum the Broncos created with wins over the New York Jets and the Colts in a five-day span last week as he closes out his first season on the job. And once the Broncos close out the season against the Chiefs, most in and around the team believe plenty of change is on the way.
“That’s a good question. We don’t know what’s going to happen or the changes that are going to be made from up top or the players," Harris said. “We don’t know. I would be able to tell you in [offseason workouts] when I could see what the real roster looks like."
Of late, players have been asked about whether it would be better long-term if the Broncos were to lose their last two games to get the best available draft spot.
“Guys are still fighting for a job," wide receiver Jordan Taylor said. “Obviously, we’re not looking into what draft picks we’re missing out on next year. You can understand the fans' point of view, but that’s not the way we’re looking at things and that’s not the way we’re going to approach things.”
“We want to win football games, that’s the first order of business," Joseph said.