The Denver Broncos turned in a downright ugly performance in their preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, losing 42-15.

Following the game, the team’s head coach made it clear that the Broncos fell short of the standard by a wide margin, while also verbalizing his regrets over the paltry performance to the fans.

First thing I tell the fans is, I’m sorry for that game two days ago because that is not what we’re looking for,” Nathaniel Hackett said ahead of Monday’s practice. “But I think the fans will understand more when we get all the way to Week 17. It goes with all those guys, Courtland [Sutton], Jerry [Jeudy] and all those guys. We want to see them in real games. We want that to happen. Looking at my past, we were 0-3 in the preseason last year with the Green Bay Packers and those guys didn’t play. But in the end, they were healthy and they were strong as we finished throughout that season. That’s what you’re always looking for.”

One aspect of the Denver Broncos’ performance that certainly didn’t embody what the coaching staff is looking for was their overall lack of physicality. They couldn’t run the ball to save their lives, while it only took Buffalo three quarters and 24 carries to amass over 200 rushing yards, embarrassing Denver’s defense to the tune of over eight yards per carry.

“That’s not what we want to be about when it comes to physicality across the board,” Hackett told the press. “I think everybody can be more physical, but it looked like they were thinking too much. There was too much on their minds. There were just simple things that when we come out here, I wish we would get some of those looks and there were just some misalignments. The starting point is always alignment and assignment for defense [and] for offense. It’s just hearing the call, knowing where to line up and then execute. Those basic things, for whatever reason, didn’t work. So, we have to evaluate all those guys. Those guys have to evaluate their process to get ready for that game, because we can’t put that stuff on tape. That’s not what we’re about.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom from Hackett on Monday. He also found some things that he felt optimistic about, which the Denver Broncos can continue to build on.

I thought we passed the ball pretty well,” the team’s head coach said. “I thought ‘Ryp’ (QB Brett Rypien) came in and he was in a very unique situation being down by that much. He didn’t skip a beat. He was throwing the ball all over the place and we had some great routes. One cool thing was to see Albert [Okwuegbunam] run the route on the left side and catch it out of bounds. Then he comes back with the same kind of route and is able to hold the redline. He learned how much room he had to give the quarterback and be able to get that explosive play, which was great. But I thought there was some good execution from the offensive standpoint. Special teams, there’s a lot of really good stuff. I thought that they showed— ‘Number 12’ (WR Montrell Washington) is going to be a good returner back there and we just have to finish some of those blocks. Now that those guys have him back there and see that—and even when ‘17’ (WR Jalen Virgil) was back there—they know, ‘Hey, if we block a little longer, something good is going to happen’. Then with the defense, it is just a great opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Those simple, little things because if they correct those—they all know it and the good thing is they were self-correcting. They understood what had gone wrong. They were communicating to the coaches. As long as you have that and you know that you’re doing certain things, then you can get those corrected and they can be better.”

The Denver Broncos get better in a hurry if they want to contend in a thoroughly loaded AFC.