The coverage surrounding the Denver Broncos this offseason has been a bit different than most are accustomed to, but there’s a benefit to it under new head coach Sean Payton.

Last season’s hype around organized team activities only added fuel to the fire of the already increasing expectations after the team acquired Russell Wilson via trade. Payton prefers work over hype and that has been noticeable in Dove Valley.

While observing practice during Broncos OTAs, it’s easy to see that Payton has command of the entire operation. He and his coaching staff emphasize getting high volumes of reps for every player during team, individual, and group periods. Every rep for every player is filmed and evaluated by Payton and his staff post-practice.

Considering that 90 players are on the roster as it currently stands, every rep is valuable, and Payton wants he and his coaching staff to evaluate things properly.

“You just want to be cautious not to judge too quickly or evaluate too quickly,” Payton said last week during OTAs. “You’re working on their improvement. That’s kind of been my experience with not just the receivers, but with a lot of these positions. The pads sometimes can define a player. There will be a couple of guys here that we’re watching and then when training camp begins, all of a sudden, the profile changes, because we’re now in full pads. It’s hard to be in these drills defensively with your assignment, your alignment and your technique. When the pads come on, you get a better feel for your team. That’s important, too. I don’t want to say hold judgment, but patience and making sure—the No. 1 thing is, ‘Does he know what to do?’ The worst thing we can do as a coach is confuse a player and then he’s playing at percent speed because he’s uncertain. That hinders the evaluation.”

The third week of OTAs continues this week before mandatory minicamp kicks off next week. After minicamp, players will be off for nearly four and a half weeks before reporting back to Dove Valley for the start of training camp — where everything ramps up even further.

On the offensive side of the ball, many of the players currently on the roster will experience their third offensive scheme in three seasons. Payton addressed how he and his staff deal with the challenge of erasing the old stuff they’ve learned, while also embracing learning themselves what the players are good at.

“The number of these guys—and not just offenses and head coaches—I said it in the first team meeting that some [of them] might feel like orphans, but you’ve got to quickly adjust,” Payton said on Thursday last week. “Players are resilient. They’re going to learn. It’s something that’s talked about a lot. Coordinators are going to change and position coaches are going to change. These guys are picking it up. Certainly, we’re mindful of some of the things that they’ve used before. If there’s something that they know well, then we’ll learn it as a staff and then adapt with it. Players will learn it. There are a few different ways to call certain things, but quickly, they’ve picked that up.”

If anything, Payton has already indicated that training camp and the NFL preseason will be different this year compared to last year. Starters are expected to play some during preseason where the Denver Broncos have their first two contests on the road against the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers before finishing with a home game against the Los Angeles Rams.

With the NFL now allowing rosters to be cut from 90 players to 53 after the third and final preseason game, how much the starters play and how Payton balances playing time between them and depth options will be one of the more intriguing storylines before the season begins. However, it’s evident that there is a vision in place and Payton is firmly in control of how that vision will be executed.

What’s ahead this week for Broncos Country and what might you have missed?
The Denver Broncos are back on the practice field this week as organized team activities continue. Media will be able to view Thursday’s practice at the Centura Health Training Center.

Over the weekend, Broncos safety Justin Simmons held his annual youth football camp this past weekend in Florida at South Fork High School as part of the Justin Simmons Foundation. Simmons was accompanied by a large group of Broncos teammates including Patrick Surtain, Damarri Mathis, Essang Bassey, P.J. Locke, Aaron Patrick, Caden Sterns, and Delonte Hood.

Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson also held his annual Russell Wilson Passing Academy at Air Force where he was joined by teammates Tim Patrick, Garett Bolles, Jalen Virgil, Brandon Johnson, and Montrell Washington.