CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- So thorough was the Broncos' collapse last Sunday in Miami, it remains difficult to ascertain what was the most embarrassing. Was it the two safeties allowed, the second blocked punt of the season, the latest Lottery Pick Six, or becoming an easy mark for an humiliating onside kick while trailing 33-9?
The follies clumsily shoved the Broncos to their eighth straight loss, the longest skid in 50 years, and one shy of the worst in-season stretch in franchise history.
"The way we are losing, we are playing like a horrible team, like we are at the bottom of the NFL. We have way too much talent to be playing like this," linebacker Shaquil Barrett told Denver7. "We need to get on the same page and figure this out."
Earlier this week, Broncos general manager John Elway called this season "embarrassing." He promised to help steer the rebound next season, admitting he understood the fans' expectations. Simply put, they don't use the P word (patience) at Dove Valley. There will be no coaching changes over the final four weeks, according to Elway. Nothing is promised after the season if this team does not start competing.
Losing is one thing. Losing in this fashion is something else. The Broncos have lost six of the eight during this stretch by double digits. No NFL team has allowed more first-half points. The Broncos have essentially lost by halftime.
"I don't know if you all understand how much losing bothers us," running back C.J. Anderson said. "You are all not in it. It's like going to a job everyday that sucks. Just sucks."
The reality of a 3-9 record is sobering. It marks only the Broncos' sixth losing season compared to seven Super Bowl berths during owner Pat Bowlen's 34-year run. The last quarter represents auditions and revelations. Who is talented enough to stay and will fit in the reshaped locker room where there will be massive turnover?
"It's been hard," safety Darian Stewart said. "But we have to play for each other and our coaches."
Right guard Ron Leary (back) did not practice on Thursday, increasing the likelihood he will miss his second consecutive game. He told Denver7 the team is being cautious. "It's tough. I think I have missed only one game in my career prior to this because of injury. But we need to be smart." Leary is considered a core player moving forward, though I would suggest he should shift back to left guard, his natural position. ... The Broncos began voting for The NFL Top 100 this week. There will not be as many players from this year's team, though outside linebacker Von Miller and cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib should populate the list. ... Nose tackle Domata Peko (knee) is out of his brace, but did not practice. He has not ruled out playing Sunday.