The Denver Broncos were back on the field on Thursday as organized team activities continued. Thursday’s session was the first OTA period that local media had access to this week.

Russell Wilson eager to bounce back and help team win

As the Denver Broncos took the field, all eyes were on Russell Wilson as he and his teammates have embraced trying to master yet another new offense ahead of the season.

After an adversity-filled season last year, Wilson is eager to rally and help the Broncos get on track under Sean Payton.

Wilson looked noticeably leaner, more athletic, and more importantly is fully healthy heading into the season.

“I feel great,” Wilson said on Thursday. “I feel lean, mean, and ready to go.”

This is crucial for Wilson after he fought through a variety of injuries last season — a torn hamstring, torn lat in his throwing shoulder and he had an offseason scope on his knee for an issue that had been bothering him for a while.

Last season was disastrous from all sides but for the Broncos’ second-year quarterback that is all in the rearview mirror.

“I wanted to have the best offseason of my life,” Wilson answered after practice. “These guys, the team bonding, everybody that’s been putting in the work has been amazing. The work ethic, the locker room, everybody’s really tight. I think ultimately we want to be the best version of ourselves, obviously with me too, I want to be the best version of me and I’m looking forward to the work of it all and doing it.”

From both a national and local media perspective, Wilson endured a lot of criticism for how last season played out, but in reflection, he knows he has to tackle the adversity he’s faced and what he will face down the road.

“There’s always the journey of the highs and lows,” Wilson said. “There’ve been a lot of highs and some tough lows, but adversity you’ve got to be able to handle it all and I’ll be ready to handle it.”

If Wilson and the Broncos’ offense can avoid the mistakes that plagued them this past season, they’ll have every opportunity to turn things around as they approach this season with a new slate.

Javonte Williams and others back on the field for the Broncos

After all the speculation surrounding the return timeline of Javonte Williams, he was in attendance during Thursday’s organized team activities.

As Williams continues to progress in his recovery from a significant knee injury from last season, the Broncos will continue to ease him back responsibly.

“Listen, we do a medical report every night,” Payton said regarding Williams. “We list the players as full, limited or out. He’s working in a limited capacity. We are being smart. Obviously—and I said this to you before—we were encouraged heading into this time of the season. It’s good to have him out here.”

However, just his presence of being back on the field is important for the offense ahead of the season.

Not only was Williams spotted at OTAs, but wide receivers Tim Patrick (ACL) and KJ Hamler (pectoral muscle) were also spotted and in attendance.

Another promising sign was seeing running back Damarea Crockett (ACL) and outside linebacker Aaron Patrick (ACL) in attendance.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton noted that they aren’t going to rush players back and he wants to be smart with anybody who is dealing with any physical ailments.

It’s worth noting that wide receiver Jerry Jeudy took an incidental contact-based shot during practice and was looked at by trainers afterward. Payton told us that he banged his thigh and that he is fine.

During this portion of OTAs, attendance is voluntary and Payton mentioned that any player who wasn’t in attendance has been in communication with him and the rest of his staff.

Which players stood out during Thursday’s practice?

The tempo was upbeat for the Broncos during every period of Thursday’s practice. Several players stood out during the media viewing period.

Wide receivers Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey have some size to them that makes them a dynamic threat in contested jump ball situations. Callaway had several impressive snags on the day.

Undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin showcased great vision on several reps and an impressive explosive burst run during one particular play at Thursday’s practice.

The Broncos’ secondary unit across the board looked impressive on the day with tightly contested coverage — but more importantly, their communication was on display that allowed the defensive to play into their fits with ease.

It’s important to note that contact isn’t permitted during OTAs which makes some things difficult to evaluate, but overall the vibe in Dove Valley was good for Thursday’s practice.

Final thoughts from OTAs

Media coverage will be a bit different for Denver Broncos fans who are aiming to consume information instantaneously. Sean Payton has implemented a new change here in Denver that limits us from being able to report on things until after practice has concluded.

This is new for Denver media, but this policy was in place when Payton was in New Orleans.

“That was our policy at the Saints, and I just carried it here,” Payton said. “Everyone has been affected on this side of the building with the way we are doing things. You guys got the rookies for an open locker room and then I just took away your little Twitter posts during practice. We’ll call it even.”

While this new policy will impact our coverage from being instant to more delayed, it forces us to be more responsible with our observations and what we can take away from practice.

Overall, it’s clear that Payton has complete and total command of the Denver Broncos on-field operation and he and his coaching staff all appear to be on the same page regarding the high volume of reps, and maximizing opportunities during individual periods.

The Broncos will be back on the practice field next week for the second week of OTAs.