George Paton: “A lot of reasons to be optimistic” about the Broncos

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In the five years since winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos generated a 9-7 record followed by four straight losing seasons. New General Manager George Paton nevertheless sees hope lurking in the team’s roster and cap situation.

“I just think they have drafted well the last couple years,” Paton told reporters on Tuesday when asked how close the team is to being a contender. “They have some good young players to build around. Now, how long it takes, I don’t know. We have to do our part, but I do think there’s some pieces in place. It’s a young football team. . . . They have a healthy salary cap position because of John [Elway], Matt [Russell], Joe [Ellis] and Rich [Hurtado].

“Typically, in this league you don’t have a lot of time to turn things around. You don’t have the six years, it has to be quicker. I just think they have some pieces in place. I’m not going to give you a timetable, but they do have some young pieces in place, a healthy cap, so there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.”

There will be even more reasons to be optimistic when Paton swaps out “they” for “we,” since he’s now an integral part of things in Denver. It may seem irrelevant, but it’s a subtle indication that perhaps he’s not ready to fully embrace the work of those who came before him.

If so, it’s for a good reason. The team has struggled in recent seasons. Four straight years, with more losses than wins.

Paton also was asked what he’d like to accomplish in Denver than he hadn’t during 14 years in Minnesota.

“I would like to win a Super Bowl here,” Paton said.

That won’t be easy. To get there, they/we/whatever need to improve in many ways — especially with the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders in the same division.