Denver Broncos leadership set to face biggest test

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Aug 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) walks the sidelines in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have had a new transition of leadership this off-season. Whether with new ownership, a new head coach, or a new quarterback, the Broncos’ biggest test is still to come.

Denver Broncos announce team captains for 2022 NFL season

On Tuesday, the Broncos announced their five team captains for the upcoming NFL season.

To no surprise, Russell Wilson headlines the group of captains followed by Justin Simmons, Courtland Sutton, Bradley Chubb, and Brandon McManus.

For the first time in his career, Chubb earned the captain role.

Last year, the Broncos rotated gameday captains under former head coach Vic Fangio, but new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett left the decision to the players.

“Obviously, we had everybody vote,” Hackett said before Tuesday’s practice. “I think the best testament was how many guys that had votes. It wasn’t just those five, it was numerous guys on the offensive line. We had a bunch of guys, and I think it’s just great to see there is so many people that believe in their teammates. There wasn’t just a very specific amount of guys. So I think that is what is great to see.”

Something feels different in Dove Valley.

All offseason, Hackett has preached that this is a player-led team, and he hasn’t had to ask anybody to step up.

Regardless of the five team captains, the Broncos and players believe they have a multitude of guys who can step up and lead in their own way.

However, according to one of the Broncos captains, the team still has to face their biggest test yet.

Denver Broncos leadership set to face biggest challenge under new identity

One element that football teams use to gauge what type of culture and identity they have is when they face adversity.

For Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, a sixth-year captain, he looks forward to seeing how the team responds to adversity.

“One thing that I was saying to some of the guys upstairs about is everyone talks about the culture change and stuff,” McManus said on Tuesday. “It’s been exciting to be around everybody in there, but one of the things I want to see is when we get to a pressure-packed situation where things aren’t going our way, how do we act? Do we fall back into that hole we have been in the past couple of years, or have we really changed and push through? I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to a lot of these new guys playing.”

How might the Broncos respond to that type of adversity?

Last year, players rallied around each other when things began to disintegrate with the last coaching staff.

Players were thrown into the fire but came out stronger on the other side.

With Hackett and his staff, the level of empowerment players feel can take them a long way this year.

McManus’ scenario is one of the biggest things to look forward to this season because it will serve as a test that will determine how far they are willing to go.

Broncos leadership styles vary but hold same powerful message

Between Russell Wilson’s vocally motivating style and Justin Simmons lead by example approach, the Broncos have various styles of leadership that hold true the same powerful messages the team meeting room stresses as important: Team First, No Excuses, and Be On Time.

Player leadership is one reason Wilson chose to come to Denver.

When Wilson speaks, everybody in the room listens and locks in.

Even with this dynamic, Wilson has also empowered other players to use their voice and that characteristic is true with Courtland Sutton, Brandon McManus, Bradley Chubb, and Simmons.

For Sutton, he believes in leading by example and helping players when he sees them going through the ups and downs of being in the National Football League.

“I’m a very big—I’ll show you more than I’ll tell you,” Sutton said of his leadership style on Tuesday. “You probably won’t hear me as much, but I try to lead by example and try to show the guys what the right way [is]. I’ll take guys off to the side and talk to them. I’m not a big ‘hurrah’ type, I guess. Sometimes I am—you guys see me—but a lot of the time, I take a guy off to the side if they look a little confused or something. Take them off to the side, talk to them and help them understand because I feel like that’s the best way to be able to learn. I try to do that for the young guys and anybody else who needs advice or help with whatever is going on.”

During Sutton’s rookie season, this was something we noticed the late, great Demaryius Thomas doing for him and other young guys during training camp.

The greatest gift we can give to others is our time, our experience, and our ear and it appears the Broncos have a locker room full of players who believe in the transformational aspect of being a leader.

How will the Broncos respond to adversity when they face it this season? That is something Broncos Country all awaits.

The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football with kickoff slated for 6:15 PM MT.

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