When asked what the Broncos’ mentality is going forward, Garett Bolles gave a simple answer.
“Like I said: More.”
The hulking left tackle, whom the Broncos selected with the 20th pick in this year’s draft, is a key contributor to the Denver rushing attack that ranks third-best in the league at 143 rushing yards per game.
“Every single week we just want more and more and more,” he added.
The words echoed those of Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, who showed up to Denver’s first practice since the bye week in a shirt with that one simple word on it—more—in big, block letters accompanied with four other words—effort, detail, focus and commitment, on the back.
Joseph said he’s satisfied with what they’ve accomplished through four games in the 2017 season, but doesn’t think the team has found its ceiling.
“We should feel good about that but have an understanding that it’s not good enough,” Joseph said. “We have to continue to work, and we have some issues that we need to clean up. They should feel good about that. It’s a hard league and to win three out of four in the first quarter is good for this team.”
During their bye week, players had a chance to reflect on the first stretch of the season. Second-year safety Justin Simmons, who won a starting job from T.J. Ward this offseason, said there was a clear difference in the effort displayed by the team in the week leading up to its lone loss.
“We went back and looked at practice that week compared to the practice that we had when we played the Cowboys,” Simmons said. “You could tell that the energy and level of attention to detail was just different.”
Simmons added that the “more” shirts serve as a reminder to players that focus throughout the week is the difference between the Broncos team that smacked down the Cowboys 42-17 and the squad that couldn’t beat the Bills, despite allowing just 272 total yards.
“You see guys wearing it around the locker room,” he continued. “You’re like, yeah. I’ll focus, pay attention to detail and things like that.”
Adam Gotsis, whose emergence helped kickstart one of the worst run defenses in football, also chimed in on what “more” means to the Broncos.
“It’s everyone doing that little bit extra, above and beyond,” he said. “That’s what you have to do to be successful. That’s what we’re going to have to do to go where we want to go.”
“When you see a head coach that has that much buy-in, it trickles down to the players,” he continued. “It trickles down through our leadership group. You see our leadership group buying along with it; it goes down to the other guys. Personally, I like seeing that. It shows me that’s where his mind is at. If I’m coming in with my mind not exactly right for that day, I just have to see Coach and know that we have to buckle it up. Let’s go.”
More effort, more focus, more detail, more commitment… more wins? Only time will tell.