CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The music provided a CliffsNotes version of coach Gary Kubiak's message to his team on the eve of training camp. When the players began their first training camp practice since winning Super Bowl 50, Jay Z's "On To The Next One" blared from the speakers.
Last season is over. Look through the windshield. Reboot. Put away the rings. OK, maybe keep those around, but move forward with eyes on the horizon.
"I told them we are not defending anything we are chasing the next one," explained Kubiak when I asked about his address to the 2016 club. "I told them our mission right now is to get this group of guys as good as we can possibly get them. We have an opportunity in many areas to improve this football team, but we can’t do that until we go to work. So let’s go to work."
The Broncos find themselves in an interesting place. There is little reason to search for slights. It greets them every time they turn on a national television show or see a highlight reel. No one expected them to win last season -- despite possessing one of the league's all-time best defenses -- and even fewer pundits expect them to become the first team to repeat since the 2004 New England Patriots.
"We are not the hunted," safety T.J. Ward said. "We are hunting."
So little is thought of the Broncos, predictions range from a wild-card team to a seven-win outfit, finishing third in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. The Broncos have won five consecutive division crowns, tying them with the Oakland Raiders (1972-76) for most in AFC West history. Even more impressive, Denver owns a 15-game road winning streak in the division, the all-time NFL mark. Cornerback Chris Harris, for example, has never lost in a visiting AFC West park.
Quarterback uncertainty colors the judgment of the current team. It is one of several questions the Broncos began attempting to answer when Day One defined became defined by "On To The Next One."
"You have to be a good football team to (win a Super Bowl). We knew exactly what we were. We got patted on the back a lot this offseason. But we also had to listen to what people don't think we can do next," Kubiak said. "There's motivation for us."