John Elway raised eyebrows earlier this month, at the Denver Broncos end-of-year press conference, when—for the first time in recent memory—the general manager and president of football operations attempted to temper expectations surrounding his football team.
"We hope so. You never know," Elway said when asked if the Broncos will be back in the playoffs next season. "I think that when you’re 5-11, there are obviously some issues that we have to get handled. I think that is our goal. That’s our mindset. Whether we can get there or not, I don’t want to raise the expectation level by saying, ‘Yes, automatically we’re going to get back there."
We-re-goin-plan-A Elway has never been one to steer away from raising the expectation level in the past, openly stating on multiple occasions that the standard in the Mile High City is to win championships.
Two straight seasons of sitting on the couch during the playoffs, though, appears to have humbled the man in charge of the team. But don't let that get you to thinking he's not going to go all scorched earth this offseason in an attempt to get the Broncos back to relevancy.
Despite that 5-11 record, Denver really isn't all that far off from at least contending in the AFC West next season. We've constructed a five-step plan for Elway and the team to get there.