Organized team activities are officially in the books for the Denver Broncos as they now have their sights set on next week’s mandatory minicamp. After weeks of installation, weight room training, and on-field work, the Broncos are ready for one final week of practice before players get time off ahead of NFL Training Camp.

Thursday’s practice in Dove Valley at the Centura Training Center saw head coach Sean Payton emphasize situational football. At various times last season, it seemed like the Broncos struggled in this department which contributed to their 5-12 record. The little things matter to Payton and if the Broncos are going to win next season, they’ll have to excel at mastering the intricate details that separate the contenders from the pretenders on Sundays.

“Well, there’s a board where there’s 43 things that are unique end of game, end of half, and sometimes middle of the game situations that may come up once every four weeks—maybe once every two years,” Payton said regarding his emphasis on Thursday’s practice. “We begin teaching those, and not just to those involved. In a perfect world, the whole bench is going to know what to expect at the end of the game in a certain situation. We spent all of the walkthrough—you guys saw it—on about eight different situations. [During] training camp on each day, we will take two and we will review [them]. They have to know those cold, and they have to know what we’re thinking so that when they come up, we can execute. If you don’t address one because it doesn’t come up until every two years, then you’re going to be faced with it, and no one’s going to know what to do. It’s really just trying to get really specific with the details of certain game situations that actually happen. We have video of it, and we have statistics of it. What’s the strategy when it happens?”

The game of football has so many little elements to it that make up a much larger picture when determining who wins and who loses. Under Payton, it’s become a key focus for how he wants his team to embrace preparation for this upcoming season.

Part of the Broncos bigger picture now includes former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark, who signed a one-year deal with the Broncos following Thursday’s practice. His arrival adds more physicality and size on the defensive line and solidifies him as a starter opposite of Zach Allen. The Clark news came after practice concluded, so Broncos Country will have to wait until next week to hear from Payton regarding his thoughts on the addition.

Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy continued to showcase how dangerous of an offensive player he can be, hauling in several passes on the day. Jeudy was linked to several trade rumors during the offseason, but Payton has been firm on the vision he has for him inside of his offensive scheme.

“He’s explosive,” Payton shared on Thursday. “I remember him coming out and certainly seeing film of him playing. Now, having a chance to work directly with him, he’s very explosive. He’s got extremely loose hips, which allows him to transition well. There’re the nuances of the game, relative to landmarks, and the exactness of the passing game. All of those things, he’s been really eager to learn. I enjoy working with him. I told him, ‘Hey, I’m going to be on you and we’re going to get the most out of you.’ He’s continued to get stronger. Couple times, he’s catching the ball with his pinkies together instead of his thumbs together. We’ll correct some of that, but he’s someone that certainly will be a big part of what we do.”

Payton’s presence could help propel Jeudy to the heights he needs to reach in order to secure a contract extension with the Denver Broncos after this season. For Broncos fans and for Jeudy, that’s the hope.

Other standouts from Denver Broncos OTAs on Thursday

Caden Sterns and Jonathan Cooper were two players who stood out during Thursday’s OTA finale in Dove Valley.

Cooper has been a consistent presence throughout OTAs while Baron Browning has missed them. On Thursday, 9News’ Mike Klis first reported that Browning underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus which has been the reason for his absence.

Klis further noted that while there is optimism Browning may return at some point during training camp, he may not be ready to go until the start of the regular season. In this instance, how Cooper has consistently looked throughout OTAs is a promising optic of what he could provide as a potential starter.

His high motor and relentless pursuit of the football has always been an attribute of his that has allowed him to become a key role player for the Denver Broncos defense the past two seasons. He was visibly disruptive and impacted the offense’s play development several times on Thursday.

Sterns on the other hand continues to impress after having hip surgery last year that ended his season. He looks visibly bulkier in his shoulders and arms and has maintained the athletic ability that saw him make so many plays in his small on-field sample size.

He made a tremendous play on the football during Thursday’s practice that would have been a momentum changer if it were a real game scenario. Sean Payton was asked if Sterns is ready to take the next step.

“Look, the next step is that cliche term,” Payton said on Thursday. “I hope all of them take the next step because last year’s steps were not good enough. I think that he’s smart, and that’s a good trait to have at his position. He [also] has instincts. That was a heck of a play down the field and staying on top. For him staying healthy and then taking a little bit of this momentum—confidence is born really out of demonstrated ability. You can hope for confidence, or say, ‘I’m going to be confident,’ but it’s only born from demonstrated ability. Plays like that—you guys have all seen a preseason game where someone excels and then all of a sudden, you have a different player. You can point to a certain moment. He’s one of those type of players.”