ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Since John Elway and the Denver Broncos began to revamp their once shaky offensive line at the start of the offseason, the GM has used the same two words regarding each of his three his new additions, “tough” and “mentality.”
Between Ronald Leary, Menelik Watson and Garett Bolles, Elway has probably said the two words 20 times each, he wanted his line to get tougher, and he isn’t afraid to share it. The Broncos’ head man knew he couldn’t replace an entire line in one offseason but has attempted to alter the disposition of the group by altering its core.
On Tuesday, one of the team’s returning linemen met with media, and it appears the message to the guys up front has permeated.
“Pretty much not taking crap from anyone,” he said of the new mentality. “Whether it be going against our defense or just going against anybody that lines up next to us, really just not taking any crap. Just going in there, playing our game and running things.”
(The defense probably gave them a lot of “crap” last year)
You’ve got Leary who has a long-standing reputation of having that mean streak, Watson who comes from a boxing background and Bolles who just flat out says he wants to be a “nasty prick” on the field. Things have changed at the core of the line.
“I just try to lead by example,” Leary said Tuesday. “I talk a little bit, but I just like to work hard and try to do everything to the best of my ability. I think they see that—they already had it. It’s not like that this o-line was just missing. Everybody just needs to be pushed more and just work harder, and that’s what we’re trying to do as a group. It’s not an individual thing; it’s always as a group on everything with the o-line. We’re just going to try to get that mentality that we’re physical, that we don’t take anything from anybody. I think once we develop that in the offseason, it will carry over to the season.”
It wasn’t the glamorous, big-time tackle signing in free agency or the trade for a future hall-of-famer, but John Elway quietly and effectively re-tooled the Broncos offensive line. Not just physically, but apparently mentally, as well.