ENGLEWOOD -- Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Monday he was pretty optimistic about his team a day after the Broncos beat Oakland 31-17 to improve to 7-2 this season. “We've got a lot of veteran leadership, a lot of character and now hopefully we can translate that to wins during the season, but yeah, I've got a good feeling about this team,” Shanahan said. “I did from day one, even after the Miami game.” The Broncos lost the season opener to Miami and looked bad doing so. The only other loss was a last-second defeat to the New York Giants on Oct. 23. Denver has a two-game lead in the AFC West. The Broncos trail Indianapolis by two games for the top spot in the AFC, but a division championship and a first-round bye seems plausible. But Shanahan wasn’t too comfortable. He remembered 1997 and 1998, when losses late in the regular season had people doubting the teams that eventually won Super Bowls. “We understand we’re one game away from being ridiculed,” Shanahan said. “People that haven’t been around here forget that in our first Super Bowl, we got beat bad two games in a row and people said we shouldn’t even be in the playoffs.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.