ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A neck strain kept Brian Dawkins from the field in all but one quarter of the Broncos’ games during a three-week losing streak — but not from his usual prominent place in the team’s locker-room hierarchy.
After the team dissected and studied the footage of its 7-3 defeat to Kansas City, Dawkins addressed the team with a simple message: forget about what just happened.
“He was standing in the front, talking to everybody,” said linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
Said tight end Dante Rosario: “The primary message coming from that meeting was that the Kansas City game, it’s gone. We watched the tape. We studied it. We need to correct our mistakes in that game to make sure it doesn’t happen this week.”
Added Woodyard: “Basically, we’re in the playoffs and the only thing that matters is the first game. That’s basically what he was talking about. We just have to come out and be ready to play.”
Speeches from Dawkins have worked before.
“He talked to the team when we were on the 1-4 slide,” Woodyard said. “He’s one of those guys who can get us on track.”
The Broncos won seven of their next eight games following that 1-4 start. A similar response in January would push the 2011 Broncos deep into the playoffs — and perhaps legendary status along with it.
“To hear words of wisdom from him, you know that it’s coming from the heart and coming from his own knowledge and experience,” Rosario said. “It means a lot to us because here’s a guy that has had a successful, long career, and has been doing it for 16 years, so we can take that advice and go to work this week.”