Denver Broncos players embracing culture change and new energy

Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett speaks to the media following OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After the Denver Broncos acquired veteran quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, expectations for the team significantly increased. Despite high levels of excitement by players, coaches, and fans, the energy in Dove Valley can’t be ignored.

The acquisition of a brand new quarterback is worthy of excitement, but the Broncos also enter 2022 with a brand new head coach in Nathaniel Hackett and a pending new owner with Rob Walton.

Days after the Broncos announced their agreement with Rob Walton and Greg Penner for the purchase of the team, various players shared their thoughts on what they hope to experience with the new ownership group.

For some players, the presence of ownership being around day to day is something they believe will be equitable towards building a strong relationship between the two sides.

Broncos kicker Brandon McManus shared his thoughts on how the Walton-Penner group can begin that process with the players in the locker room.

“It’s a good thing to have a great niche in the locker room, and also a business and winning football team,” McManus said. “These guys will play as hard as possible for you. Just get them to have that trust level with you. It’s a partnership. Obviously, they are writing our checks to us, but the closer you see us working together, you’ll have a better, successful team.”

The new ownership group can take a page out of Broncos’ late owner Pat Bowlen’s book by having this approach with the employees, coaches, and players of the Denver Broncos organization.

McManus will have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with the Broncos’ new ownership not only as a player but as the team’s NFLPA union representative.

As the Broncos’ NFLPA union representative, McManus is responsible for helping bridge the gap of communication between players and the NFL as it pertains to certain rules or provisions the league makes.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be in there talking to them. As a sounding board, I have no problem giving my opinion, whether right, wrong, or indifferent,” said McManus. “I think the previous regime has known that. Whatever they need from me. They write my checks to make field goals. That’s what I’ll continue to do, but if I can help them in any way with the transition here, I’ll be doing that.”

With the Broncos ownership vacancy being filled, the excitement about Russell Wilson as the team’s quarterback is evident inside the locker room.

One player who stands to benefit from Wilson’s addition to the team is Broncos’ sixth-year left tackle Garett Bolles. Responsible for helping keep him upright, Bolles described how the culture inside the locker room has changed under Wilson’s command.

“I think that we’ve grown up, especially the last couple of years with us not being a winning organization like we should be,” Bolles said after Thursday’s final OTA practice. “We win off the field and sometimes that translates to the field, and I think that’s what we have to do. We got the missing pieces that we need.”

Wilson was a key missing piece that the Broncos desperately needed this offseason, but they also needed the presence and enthusiasm of first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Whether in the locker room or on the field, Hackett’s energy as a coach, teacher, and human being is valued in the eyes of players.

Whether the offense scores a touchdown or the defense creates a turnover, Hackett involves himself in celebrating with the players, even if it means dishing out friendly trash talk.

On Thursday at the UCHealth Training Center, Broncos’ second-year cornerback Patrick Surtain highlighted how important Hackett’s energy is toward helping the team grow together.

“It brings all of our competitive spirits out knowing that the head coach will chip in with ‘K-Jack’ (safety Kareem Jackson),” Surtain said. “That’s the energy that we need for us to have a great team. When your coach is that energetic and cares so much about the team, it only leaves a positive thing, so that’s great.”

The Denver Broncos are set to kick off mandatory minicamp on Monday, June 13th through Wednesday, June 15th. Will the Broncos capitalize on the energy and excitement circulating around Dove Valley as they prepare for the regular season?