When John Elway took over as the general manager of the Denver Broncos in 2011, some thought he'd be another figurehead in a position to just cash a check.

Unlike Dan Marino, who didn't grasp the time obligations needed to work in an NFL front office when he joined the Dolphins in that capacity for a brief moment, Elway has embraced every bit of being an NFL general manager.

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He lives it. He is one of the first into the building and one of the last out. Moreover, he understands a simple aspect to his job:

It is just football.

Elway knows football. That much we knew from his days playing Hall of Fame quarterback for the Denver Broncos. But his stint as GM of the Broncos has told us that even more.

The Broncos have won one Super Bowl ring already in Elway's tenure, and they're off to a 4-0 start this season to move to the top of the Power Rankings. They've had great success even though they've started four different quarterbacks the past two seasons.

That's not Elway's ideal way. Like so many others, he wants the franchise guy, which is why he made the bold move to trade up and get Paxton Lynch in the first round of last May's NFL Draft. Lynch has the look of that franchise guy.

"It makes it easier [having a franchise guy]," Elway said. "It doesn't guarantee anything but it makes it a little easier."

With a nasty defense in place, a defense that can rush the passer and cover, two essential ingredients to winning football in this era, Elway doesn't have to rely strictly on the quarterback to win games. That's why Trevor Siemian was able to start the season and play well enough to win games.

He suffered a shoulder injury against Tampa Bay Sunday, which puts Lynch on the verge of possibly making his first start of what should be many in his career.

Lynch has that franchise-passer look about him. Elway, of all people, knew that when he picked him.

John Elway gets it.

To all those who thought he'd be little more than a former star cashing a check, you have been proven woefully wrong.

Biggest Movers
6 Falcons
8 Cardinals
1 Broncos The defense faces a stiff challenge this week against the Falcons' high-scoring offense. Can they slow Matt Ryan? 1 0-3-0
2 Vikings That defense is legit and Sam Bradford is playing good football. They have a Super Bowl look to them right now. 1 0-3-0
3 Packers They come off their bye with a home game against the Giants. They seemed to get the offense going against the Lions before the break. Will that carry over? 1 2-2-0
4 Patriots Now that Tom Brady is back, they should move back to the top of this list at some point this season. Going 3-1 without him was huge. 3 1-2-0
5 Eagles The big question moving forward is whether rookie quarterback Carson Wentz can keep it up. He looks like he can. -- 3-0-0
6 Steelers With all those playmakers on offense, Ben Roethlisberger is going to roll up a ton of yards and touchdown passes. They will be tough to stop. -- 2-1-0
7 Seahawks They looked like a real Super Bowl contender against the Jets. That's the Seahawks we expected to see this season. -- 2-1-0
8 Cowboys Dak Prescott continues to play well and take care of the football. Does he keep the job when Tony Romo comes back? 1 2-1-0
9 Texans They have a two-game lead in the division after a month, which makes them the team to beat. But not having J.J. Watt will hurt. 2 1-2-0
10 Raiders They have three road victories in four weeks, which means something. The defense is improving each week. 3 1-2-0
11 Falcons With their offense, they can score on anybody. We think. Let's see what happens this week at Denver. 6 2-1-0
12 Ravens They could easily be 4-0, but their late loss to the Raiders will sting. But how good are they? 4 2-1-0
13 Bengals They have a tough game this week at Dallas, but they are getting healthy. They could have Tyler Eifert back this week. 2 1-2-0
14 Rams At 3-1, the defense is carrying this team. But at some point, you have to score more points. 4 1-2-0
15 Giants The injuries in the secondary showed up against the Vikings. Now they get Aaron Rodgers. Better hope guys get back. 1 1-2-0
16 Panthers They have major problems in a lot of areas. And now Cam Newton's concussion could be an issue. 6 0-3-0
17 Chiefs That was a horror show in Pittsburgh. Was that really the same defense that picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick six times a week ago? 5 2-1-0
18 Commanders At 2-2, they've evened their record after the 0-2 start. Now they face the Ravens in Baltimore. 4 2-1-0
19 Bills They are now 2-2 and Rex Ryan has turned this thing around. They have a tough trip to Los Angeles to face the Rams this week. 5 2-1-0
20 Jets They can't win with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. It's time to make a change. 1 1-2-0
21 Chargers They've blown two 13-point fourth-quarter leads in two games. That's tough to take. -- 1-2-0
22 Cardinals Who ever imagined they'd be down this far after the first month? Carson Palmer hasn't been the same quarterback. 8 1-2-0
23 Dolphins The early schedule was brutal, but they have so many issues right now. It's going to take time to fix this roster. -- 3-0-0
24 Saints Was that a season-saving victory at San Diego? It had that feel to it, but they have a long way to go. 5 2-1-0
25 Bears Should Brian Hoyer stay in as the starter if Jay Cutler is healthy? That's absurd. 5 0-3-0
26 Jaguars They finally got their first victory, which could get them going. They head to the bye and then play at Chicago. 5 1-2-0
27 Colts This is a team that some picked to win the AFC South. At 1-3, they sure don't look like they will now. 7 2-1-0
28 Buccaneers They are throwing it way too much, which is a problem. But the defense isn't good enough, which forces it. 3 2-1-0
29 49ers Is it time to make a quarterback change? Or does that short week put that off for another week? 3 3-0-0
30 Lions They just haven't played well, and it might cost Jim Caldwell his job. The offense didn't look good against the Bears. 3 3-1-0
31 Titans At 1-3, they need to get it going -- or else. Coach Mike Mularkey is already on the hot seat. 3 1-2-0
32 Browns At least they battle each week. That's a tribute to coach Hue Jackson. -- 2-1-0