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Broncos' Fox on Super Bowl: 'We were just awful'

Published On: Feb 21 2014 09:49:27 AM CST
closeup of football laces

iStock/joecicak

INDIANAPOLIS -

Sure, Denver Broncos coach John Fox is dealing with the expected frustration after his team lost the Super Bowl by a lopsided margin.

However, 18 days after the humbling 43-8 shellacking against the Seattle Seahawks, he wasn't moping about what contributed to the result.

"As you look back, get a chance to look at the tape and expound on that, I think we're capable of playing better," Fox said. "Not taking anything away from them, they had a lot to do with it. It was disappointing that we didn't play better. ...

"It's a team thing, and they had something to do with it. Give them credit. We were just awful. I think we could have executed better. But (the Seahawks) had a little to do with that. And they did that against New Orleans twice. That's a pretty good outfit."

One area of internal consternation revolved around the Broncos' short kickoff to Percy Harvin to open the second half, which the Seahawks speedster fielded on the bounce and returned 87 yards for the touchdown that effectively ended Denver's hopes of a comeback.

Fox said the kickoff was intentionally pooched. The ball bounced at the 13-yard line but went straight up, allowing Harvin to get under the football and immediately sprint forward.

"It was an aggressive call, but it was a great call. It was a great kick," Fox said. "Just a (bad) bounce for the good guys. If the ball bounces anywhere other than how it did, we've got a 90 percent chance of getting it, so that would have been a nice way to start the third quarter ... by recovering a muffed pooch kick, which it was perfect, but the ball bounced straight up to him."

Once Harvin took off, the Broncos' wave of injuries exacted another toll: A chain reaction of personnel shifts that began with the loss of several key starters ended with shuffled special teams that resulted in three kickoff returns of at least 88 yards allowed by the Broncos from December onward.

"And then we missed five tackles," Fox said. "That (the personnel shuffling) is not an excuse. It's just what happened.

"But we didn't play well."

They didn't, but there is no cause for panic, even though the roster undoubtedly will change in the coming weeks. With pending unrestricted free agents such as running back Knowshon Moreno, wide receiver Eric Decker, guard Zane Beadles and linebacker Wesley Woodyard, the Broncos will absorb a personnel hit.

However, with players such as left tackle Ryan Clady, linebacker Von Miller, defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, defensive end Derek Wolfe, cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and safety Rahim Moore expected to return from injuries, the Broncos will get an upgrade from their Super Bowl roster even if they don't add an unrestricted free agent.

"You know, I don't know if I'd say we have a lot of high needs, but obviously every team has needs. We will get some guys back, which should help," Fox said. "I feel good about where we are and the way John (Elway, the team's general manager,) has maneuvered it moving forward. Now it's just a matter of time."

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