It was like the Broncos woke up after getting 12 hours of shuteye.

The Super Bowl hangover has officially been slept off. Denver is ready to do it again.

No one can blame the Broncos for being a little less hungry in 2016 than they were the season before. When you get a ring, conscious or not, it’s probably easy to relax a tiny bit. There’s a reason teams rarely repeat as champions in the NFL.

That lack of an edge, however small it may have been, translated to the field as the team finished 9-7. It wasn’t a disastrous year, but not making the playoffs for the first time since pre-Tebow stung.

There are a lot of “unofficial” starts to a new season, but count me in the camp of it being the first day of OTAs. Or in this year’s case, Tuesday afternoon.

Free agency has wrapped. Draft picks have been selected, signed and gone through rookie minicamp. All the veterans are back in town. Yes, the 2017 season officially began for the Broncos on Tuesday. Now, we’ll see if the journey can take them back to their third Super Bowl in five years.

The No. 1 thing that stood out was the speed. Or as Vance Joseph would say: The juice. The Broncos flew all over the field.

It could be because everyone was hyped for practice No. 1. Or it could be because this team is ready to get back to its 2015 form – every single day.

“That was the fastest we’ve practiced in a while. That’s the first thing I noticed was how fast we practiced. Already, the communication is great and guys were out there playing fast. We want to get back to the year we won the Super Bowl where we ran after the ball. We did those things in practice and that’s what made us great on gameday. I think we started great today,” safety T.J. Ward told reporters.

Look, the majority of the defensive talent that won it all is still on this team. And while no one is going to argue defense was the problem a year ago, they weren’t quite the solution they were the season before. Is it fair to ask this group to consistently steal games? Probably not. Are they capable of doing it? You bet.

If Ward, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Darian Stewart, Brandon Marshall, Shane Ray, Von Miller and Derek Wolfe can all find the form they had a couple of years ago, it can translate to Sundays – creating a sea of turnovers, sacks and even scores.

It wasn’t just the defense flying around the field on Tuesday. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders looked quick, strong and healthy.

The two played catch in front of the media for about 10 minutes, and besides noticing what a tight spiral each of them throws, neither had a drop and both had spectacular catches. The highlight was DT snagging a one-handed pass well above his head that drew audible “oohs and aahs” from the collection of assembled scribes. Seeing a guy do that on television is one thing – seeing it mere yards away is another.

Finally, the offensive line looked meaner, tougher and stronger. The additions of Garett Bolles, Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson were immediately noticeable. Those are three possible starters all acquired through free agency or the draft. The fact the group popped on day one was an encouraging sign.

“They got a little edge to them. When we add Matt [Paradis] in there too, it’ll be interesting. They’ve been working together really well. Obviously, we haven’t done much, but all through meetings and everything, they’re really engaged and super focused,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said of the bunch.

Which, of course, brings us to the million-dollar question – one which obviously wasn’t answered on Tuesday.

Who will be the Broncos starting QB in 2017?

Finding take after take on that dilemma is just one Google search away – but consider this nugget from Tuesday:

Paxton Lynch appeared to be night-and-day more comfortable not only on the field but at the podium as well. The shy rookie has matured into a confident second-year player. Whatever the “swag” level of Siemian, Lynch now appears to have the opposite of that. What effect that has on who starts Week 1 remains to be seen, but keep it tucked in the back of your mind.

After a long season full of Gatorade and Advil, the Broncos Super Bowl hangover has officially been wiped.

The bunch looked well rested as a journey toward a new celebration begins again.

Featured Image Credit: Ryan Greene, 5280 Sports Network