Day two of Denver Broncos training camp featured morning fireworks before practice began. When looking back at last season’s operation and disaster, new head coach Sean Payton pulled no punches. Here are three key takeaways from Thursday’s training camp ramp-up.

Sean Payton pulls no punches regarding Denver Broncos struggles last year

Last season was a disaster for the Denver Broncos regarding the on-field product and little storylines that snowballed into bigger issues as the season progressed.

Russell Wilson took a lot of heat from the national media, and so did former head coach Nathaniel Hackett. While Sean Payton has emphasized that the team needs to put last season in the rearview mirror, he set the record straight that there were too many cooks in the kitchen, creating a recipe for disaster for the team.

In an interview with USAToday’s Jarrett Bell, Payton unloaded on last year’s dysfunction, including shutting down the narrative that was created that Wilson was the main guy at fault.

“There’s so much dirt around that,” Payton told Bell. “There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”

Those moments bring Broncos fans back to key moments like the season opener, where Hackett waited 30 seconds in the final minute against the Seattle Seahawks to burn one of three remaining timeouts. The very next week against the Houston Texans saw fans counting down the play clock due to too many delay of game penalties.

“But everybody’s got a little stink on their hands,” Payton said to USAToday. “It’s not just Russell. It was a (poor) offensive line. It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. That’s how bad it was.”

While Wilson shoulders an equal share of blame last year, Payton made it known that it wasn’t solely on the QB, and he believes that the former All-Pro and Pro Bowl veteran still has it in him to play at a high level.

Javonte Williams gaining more confidence each day with recovery from ACL surgery

When Javonte Williams received his MRI after suffering a knee injury in Week 4 last season against the Las Vegas Raiders, he received the news that so many athletes fear to hear, and that’s that they tore their ACL.

Nine months later, Williams is back on the field, inching himself closer to the player he’s always been  — a physically imposing running back.

“I feel like the biggest part of all of this is mental,” Williams said. “Just getting out there, seeing the holes again, and running through the O-line and D-line again is a confidence boost.”

As somebody who has torn their ACL and has gone through the physical and mental journey associated with a return to play protocol, Williams progress is impressive to see.

He feels ready to do more but expressed that he’s leaving that decision to the Broncos and the medical staff.

“That’s up to the doctors and the Broncos, but I feel like it is what it is.”

During Thursday’s practice, Williams received some reps during 7 on 7 and the team period and didn’t look hesitant hitting the hole or stutter stepping around defenders.

With Friday’s first public practice set to be in front of 3000 fans, it will be worth monitoring to see what Williams does now that the ramp-up period is officially over.

Observations from Day 2 of Broncos Camp

It’s hard to truly evaluate some of the more meaningful things that will impact the Denver Broncos this upcoming season without pads on.

However, various tangible observations provide a potential preview of what Broncos fans may see during training camp and preseason.

Patrick Surtain continues to look every bit of who he has demonstrated he is as a high-caliber, premier NFL cornerback. He had several plays during the Broncos team period, one pass breakup while in coverage where he showcased perfect technique getting his outside hand on the hip of the wide receiver while bringing his ball side hand across to knock a pass attempt down.

Undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin has some special traits to him that Andrew Mason proclaimed out loud, “You can’t coach that,” during Thursday’s practice. McLaughlin’s footwork and vision as a ball carrier look very promising, but his next-level speed and burst are something to watch for if you plan on attending practice.

The bigger question surrounding McLaughlin will be whether or not he can do the same things when contact ramps up and the pads come on in practice and whether he can carry that into preseason play.

Russell Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, and Ben DiNucci demonstrated decisiveness in the passing game, maintaining the uptempo approach Payton has asked of his team and the offense specifically.

The quick passing game could become more of an emphasis under Payton this upcoming season, especially as teams look to send more pressure at Wilson and the Broncos’ offense.