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Center Matt Paradis #61 of the Denver Broncos prepares to hike the ball during the second half of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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Stokley: Establishing Broncos run game, nastiness starts vs. Bears

Center Matt Paradis #61 of the Denver Broncos prepares to hike the ball during the second half of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Brandon Stokley hopes to not be as disappointed as he was with the Denver Broncos a year ago, when the club seemingly focused too much on evaluating the passers instead of building a strong offense.

The “Stokley & Zach” co-host said he believed there was “too much emphasis” on the quarterback competition — between veteran Mark Sanchez, eventual starter Trevor Siemian, and rookie Paxton Lynch — and not enough on just playing good offense.

“I think this year is going to be totally different,” Stokley said. “You hear Mike McCoy, you hear Paxton Lynch, you hear Vance Joseph saying we need to be better around the quarterback.”

That starts with establishing the running game, “establishing that nastiness.”

“They brought in those offensive linemen,” Stokley said of offseason acquisition Ronald Leary, Menelik Watson, and Allen Barbre. “They want to get mean and nasty and be a physical football team up front.”

However, those qualities are hard to evaluate during practices, wherein the physicality is not that of a game. That means Thursday’s preseason opener against the Chicago Bears is the first real chance to see if the Broncos have beefed up their front line.

“I think that’s a big emphasis for this football team offensively this year, to get that edge and to have that mentality. And that starts tonight on the football field,” Stokley said.

“And it doesn’t start by throwing the football all around the field and trying to evaluate just the quarterbacks.”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.