Despite appearances, nobody at Dove Valley began his offseason meetings by pounding a conference room table in the name of defense.

The need became obvious to everyone at Broncos headquarters as the 2013 season was playing out. The Broncos then opened free agency this month by signing three Pro Bowl defensive players — pass-rushing defensive end DeMarcus Ware, shutdown cornerback Aqib Talib and hard-hitting strong safety T.J. Ward — to nearly $110 million of contracts.

"You realize a lot of needs during a season," Broncos coach John Fox said Tuesday during the AFC coaches breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes resort. "We were aging some. We wanted to get younger. We wanted to get faster, like we do every year. We're a much younger defense at this point. We needed to retool that side of the ball.

"We lost Elvis (Dumervil, the previous year). We put a guy in there, but we didn't really replace and rejuvenate. That was our first priority, and free agency was the first thing out of the blocks. We felt fortunate it fell right. We were very pleased with who we got."

The Broncos had a terrific regular season, posting a 13-3 record to claim the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed, then won two home playoff games to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The final game was a disaster. The Broncos not only were humiliated 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks, they were beaten from the first poorly executed snap.