Editor's note: NFL reporter Jeff Legwold analyzes the Broncos' 36-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and looks ahead.
For the Broncos, these are the hunger games.
When John Elway returned to pro football, this time to be a front-office executive, he said his first goal was to "get the locker room the way we wanted it."
He wanted to return football hunger to the equation.
Whatever happens to the current four-game winning streak moving forward, Elway, the Broncos' front-office and coaching staffs have met that goal.
While talent will always determine a team's ability to get into the postseason, it's hunger that determines what those playoff trips become.
"That's what we need," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "Everybody needs to remember to stay the course, don't get caught up in everything going around. Because what we're doing is nice, but it isn't where we want to go. The good teams, every week, every year, remember where they want to go.
"But we've got a lot of hungry guys in here, guys who want to do whatever it takes to get out there to play, guys giving it all to win. That's how it needs to stay."
Guys such as cornerback Chris Harris, a player the Broncos signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2011 draft. He is a Swiss Army knife, tossed in wherever the Broncos need him.
In Sunday's victory at Carolina, he lined up outside at cornerback, in the slot at cornerback and at safety.
Guys such as Tony Carter — cut over and over again, including by the Broncos — who has scored two of the Broncos' four defensive touchdowns.
Guys such as Keith Brooking, Dan Koppen and Trindon Holliday, veteran players sent along their way by their former teams, looking to contribute somewhere, for somebody, who now find themselves key pieces in a playoff race.
"You can see it," Harris said. "I want to be one of those guys that wants to play. I don't want to step back. I want to be out there, in the big situations."
It is the most difficult part of assembling teams. Young teams tend to be the hungrier ones, filled with enthusiasm and athleticism.
Older teams tend to know the way. The best mix just might be the young teams with some well-placed, much- decorated veterans to lead the way. The Broncos have the look of one of those teams.
Read more: Youthful Broncos have helped power winning streak - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci...#ixzz2C7bLo3jQ