The Denver Broncos wrapped up Thursday’s practice as the NFL season kicks off tonight.

Denver Broncos practice report for Thursday

The Denver Broncos are just 72 hours away from the Sean Payton era officially beginning as the regular season arrives. Expectations are always high with the fanbase, but Payton and his coaching staff have laid a solid foundation ahead of the season opener.

Many players felt that training camp was a difficult grind, but many expressed that they needed it after last season. Payton’s toed the line of building up his players but has also ridden them hard.

His attention to detail on the little intricacies of the game has not only helped give players deeper insight into how games could play out but has empowered players to trust in themselves and the person next to them.

Payton’s focus on the game plan isn’t solely lasered into what the other team may or may not do, but is more aligned with developing an identity amongst the team of imposing their own will and executing the little things to perfection.

Broncos fullback Michael Burton touched on this in an interview following practice.

“The culture has been great here, led by coach [Sean] Payton,” Burton said. “He’s brought in the right coaches, personnel, and players, as is the personnel department. It’s been a great experience; guys have been working their tails off and are ready to roll.”

Denver Broncos Injury Report: Jerry Jeudy limited but trending upward

For the second consecutive practice, Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was limited as he recovers from a hamstring injury sustained two weeks ago.

He participated in individual drills once again and has looked more and more comfortable as the week has progressed. Friday’s practice will be important to monitor regarding his status.

Jeudy met with local media after practice and shared how he felt ahead of Sunday’s kickoff.

“I’m being 100% smart with it,” Jeudy said. “I’ve got to listen to my body. If I feel good, I’m good. If I don’t, then I don’t. It’s all depending on how I feel on Sunday.”

If he were to upgrade from limited to full on Friday, hypothetically, that would be a great sign regarding his game status on Sunday.

Rookie cornerback Riley Moss (abdomen) has continued to ramp things up and was limited for the second consecutive practice.

Tight end Chris Manhertz (chest) was upgraded from limited to a full participant.

Greg Dulcich was back at practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday due to an excused personal matter.

Broncos players eager to start strong on Sunday

Broncos head coach Sean Payton has emphasized how important it is that the team starts off strong. With Denver opening up against a conference and divisional opponent, the stakes are even high for Week 1’s opener on Sunday.

Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey echoed those sentiments set forth by Payton on Thursday.

“Divisional games always matter more,” McGlinchey said. “It almost counts as two because it counts as a win and a loss for the other team. It’s a big deal, and it’s certainly something that coach [Sean] Payton has harped on to start fast this year. Certainly to do that at home would be a great opportunity.”

Last season Denver went 1-5 in AFC West divisional play, which has held them out of playoff contention for years. Not only is it important for Denver to start the season on a strong note, but they also have a chance to snap the Raiders’ six-game win streak against them.

While they open the season against the Raiders and close out the year against them, winning these games is crucial toward AFC and divisional tiebreaker scenarios that will play out as the season progresses.

Broncos DC Vance Joseph understands challenge Raiders will present on Sunday

From a personnel standpoint, the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders have an exciting matchup on both sides of the ball.

However, for the Broncos defensively, they’ll have their hands full with Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Hunter Renfrow.

Last season, Adams and Patrick Surtain had two strong games against each other in what proved to be must-see TV against one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks and wide receivers.

Adams presents challenges defensively because he isn’t always isolated on the outside. Against Denver specifically, Josh McDaniels has incorporated motioning Adams away from the outside to create logjams in the middle of the field, forcing Denver’s hand coverage-wise.

Often at times we hear coordinators discuss motion looks as window dressing, but it can impact a defensive negatively if they don’t adjust.

Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was asked about whether or not the plan is to put Surtain one-on-one against Adams again on Sunday.

“You have a plan to get those guys stopped, Joseph said. “If you don’t stop their best people, you won’t win the game. That’s always first on our docket when we game plan versus teams. We’ll see how it works on Sunday, but we will have a plan to stop their best people.”

When Joseph was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals last season, Davante Adams only had 12 total receiving yards in that game. Joseph acknowledged how the Raiders improved their utilization of Adams after that and how last season’s result was early.

“That was last year, and that was an early game also,” Joseph said. “Watching the Broncos games versus the Raiders last year, they got better as far as how teams played him, and [Raiders Head Coach] Josh [McDaniels] had more answers because that was the first time having [Raiders WR] Davante [Adams]. I think it was Week 2. They have evolved a lot since that game. We’ll see how it comes out on Sunday, but our plan is always to stop their best people and what they do first.”

The Broncos’ defensive strategy against the Raiders on Sunday will be intriguing to see. Joseph will need to make swift adjustments if necessary.

The Denver Broncos will wrap up practice their final practice of the week on Friday, which leads them straight into kickoff on Sunday afternoon.