ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—As the Broncos keep winning, their candidates for major awards add up.
Peyton Manning is in the mix for NFL offensive player of the year and comeback player of the year. Von Miller could end up grappling with Houston's J.J. Watt for defensive player of the year. And John Elway's quick rebuilding of a depth-shy, dysfunctional franchise after five years of steady decline
could put him on track for Sporting News Executive of the Year honors.
Whether Elway wins the award or not, his finest attribute as the team's executive vice president of football operations is his openness to advice from others around the building—including Manning.
"You keep in touch with guys, you hear about guys, so you kind of mention that to (personnel director Matt) Russell and John," said Manning, citing safety Jim Leonhard and linebacker Keith Brooking as examples of players whose names he passed upstairs that have helped bolster the Broncos' depth.
Listening to others around the organization has been crucial for Elway, who took their advice on a pair of in-season pickups off the scrap heap: center Dan Koppen and returner Trindon Holliday. Holliday, a waiver claim from Houston, has run back a punt and kickoff for touchdowns in the last two games. He maes the Broncos a legitimate scoring threat in all three phases.
Koppen, who was recommended by offensive line coach Dave Magazu, might be nothing short of a season saver; he was picked up to provide depth behind J.D. Walton but was forced into duty after Walton fractured his ankle In Week 4.
The offensive line has steadily improved with Koppen, whose nine years with the Patriots' up-tempo, Tom Brady-led offense helped make his transition to the Broncos and Manning an easy one.