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Coach picks up 1st-place Broncos

– John Fox made an appearance on the big screen at Broncos headquarters.

Then, he went back to his living room and let the interim coach, Jack Del Rio, dissect the good and bad from Denver’s latest victory.

The Broncos head coach, recovering from heart surgery back home in North Carolina, met with the team for about 10 minutes on a video chat Monday in what Del Rio described as a pick-me-up for the Broncos, who have been without their coach this month.

“He banged on his chest and said, ‘I’m doing great,’ ” Del Rio said. “He said he walked two miles today. Things like that. Just to see his face beaming, just so happy to be visiting with the guys – it was cool.”

Del Rio did as good a Fox impression as he could while discussing a 27-17 victory over Kansas City that pulled the Broncos to 9-1, tied for first in the AFC – saying there were lots of positives but enough negatives to keep the Broncos focused with New England and a rematch with Kansas City coming up.

•On the offensive line that kept Peyton Manning unsacked, unhit and virtually untouched: “I feel very much like I did last week when I was defending them the whole time. And I’m not going to heap a bunch of praise on them.”

•On the running game that averaged only 2.9 yards a carry, as the Broncos tried to neutralize a hard-charging Chiefs pass rush: “We want to run it better.”

•On the penalties – all 13 of them, four or five of which were of the unnecessary variety, in Del Rio’s mind: “There are some – I call them silly, focus-type issues. … We want to have good judgment. … There are some situations where we made some mistakes that can really haunt you.”

Even with their imperfections, the Broncos were double-digit winners over an undefeated team that got its own share of credit for not getting steamrolled by an offense that scored two touchdowns less than its season average.

It was, as most of Denver’s wins have been, a fortuitous blend of successes and failures – not bad enough to cause a loss, but certainly not a clean enough effort to breed complacency, which is good given the upcoming schedule.

“We knew when the schedule came out that these were going to be three critical games,” Manning said after the game. “We hoped they were going to be critical. We hoped they were going to matter because that meant we had taken care of business early in the season.”

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