ENGLEWOOD Josh McDaniels and his videographer have been fired, Denver is abuzz with hope that John Elway will gain a greater role with the Broncos as a chief football executive, and interim coach Eric Studesville exudes enthusiasm.
But that dark cloud that hung over the fractured franchise hasnt dissipated just yet, quarterback Kyle Orton insisted.
The only way you lift anything is to win football games, Orton said Wednesday before Studesvilles first practice. I mean, if you want to feel better as a player, if you want to feel better as an organization, if you want to feel better as fans, youve got to win.
The Broncos havent done much of that lately, winning just twice since September and just five times since McDaniels burst onto the NFL scene by winning his first six games last year.
They travel to Arizona for a matchup of 3-9 teams today.
Studesville said he wouldnt change much on offense, defense or special teams. But one thing he did adjust was the volume on the music that McDaniels liked to blare over the concert-style speakers during practice. They were silenced after stretching Wednesday, replaced by the sounds of hits and hollers.
When Studesville was promoted, the typical reaction even among Broncos players was, Eric who?
Studesville only had been with the Broncos for 11 months, hired Jan. 23 to replace longtime running backs coach Bobby Turner after six seasons in Buffalo.
McDaniels didnt like to let his assistants speak with the media too much, and the only interview Studesville had given in Denver was a brief chat with The Associated Press in mid-November.
So, the stealthy Studesville gathered his captains Wednesday morning ahead of his first team meeting for a get-to-know-me session one day after standing in front of cameras and recorders for the first time.
Really, what I wanted to do was just kind of open those lines of communication, Studesville said. Some of those guys dont know me very well.
The players quickly got a taste of his passion.
Hes lit up like a kid on Christmas Day, defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson said.
Correll Buckhalter said the rest of his teammates finally saw what the running backs have witnessed all year.
All he knows what to do is work, Buckhalter said. He wants everybody to come to work happy, just to feel like you want to come here even though its a rough season. We still have four games to go.
While Studesville is trying for a quick fix to the many problems facing the Broncos on the football field, the brain trust of the organization is mapping out a long-term plan to resurrect the franchise.
The Broncos to-do list includes reconfiguring the structure of the football operations, retooling a gutted roster, refurbishing their tarnished image and regaining the trust of their frustrated fans.