Broncos' Marshall takes issue with Elway's 'soft' remark
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos not only are mired in their longest losing streak since 1990, but they got called out earlier this week by their general manager, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.
Denver (3-7) skidded to its sixth consecutive loss Sunday, dropping a 20-17 decision to the Cincinnati Bengals.
At a dinner earlier this week honoring some of the team's greatest players and coaches, Elway was quoted as saying that he thought the Broncos were playing "soft" during their losing streak.
"We definitely didn't take kindly to those remarks," inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "I understand this is his team, so his name is on it, but it's our skin in the game. Nobody is soft on this team. We work our butt off and we work hard. We play hard and we go out there and give it 100 percent every game and every practice. We just fall short."
Linebacker Von Miller said he was taken aback by Elway's comments, but conceded they had some validity.
"If you have any type of emotion about you, if you play soft, your reaction should be, 'What? I'm not soft,'" Miller said. "But, if you take a look at it, the truth is that's what we've been putting out there. That's the type of team we've developed into. That's what we got. It's the truth. He's telling the truth."
Defensive end Derek Wolfe said the only way out of their slide is to stop pointing fingers.
"People are obviously going to get nippy with each other," Wolfe said. "You just have to get in between that and be like, 'Hey, we have to stick together. We're all we got,'" Wolfe said. "Everybody is against us now. Everybody hates us. Nobody likes us. When you're losing, nobody likes you. Nobody likes a loser. They want winners, so we're all we've got. We have to stick together."
--Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was credited with a 101-yard interception return on the stat sheet, but didn't make it into the end zone.
Kirkpatrick was about 2 yards deep in the end zone when he picked off Brock Osweiler's pass intended for Cody Latimer, who got jammed in traffic.
Dashing down the field the other way with wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in hot pursuit, Kirkpatrick jostled the ball loose inside the 15 as he turned to look over his shoulder. The ball squirted forward and Kirkpatrick recovered it at the 1-yard line, setting up the Bengals' first touchdown.
"I have to hold on to the ball." Kirkpatrick said. "I didn't know where they (Thomas and Sanders) were at. It was just an act of the moment. But I have to hold on to the ball, no excuses for it. I have to put it in."
--The Bengals' running attack, ranked last in the league, continued to struggle.
Rookie Joe Mixon carried 20 times and was held to 49 yards, an average of 2.5 yards per carry. Overall, Cincinnati also had 49 yards on the ground, below its league-low average of 70 yards per game.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged the ongoing problems with the rushing attack, but also noted the overall offensive productivity in notching the victory.
"A lot of positives today but still things obviously to clean up," Lewis said. "We had some positive runs and they ganged up on us a little bit there at the end, too. We are having a hard time stringing together two positive runs, but I thought the offense and the plan and so forth today grounded out and I feel good about it."
--Another change at quarterback may be on the way for the Broncos as they search for a way to end their six-game skid.
Osweiler made a third start since replacing Trevor Siemian. He was backed up by Paxton Lynch, who missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury.
Lynch, a first-round pick a year ago, is healthy again and with the Broncos pretty much out of postseason consideration, coaches may want to get a look at him in action.
"We'll see," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. "We're going to watch the tapes and see where we are as an offense. Obviously, he's (Lynch) healthy now. He's a young player with talent so we'll see."