When the Denver Broncos took off for a pair of joint practice sessions with the San Francisco 49ers before they faced each other in the second preseason game, it was fair to assume that the Broncos’ offense would benefit most from the trip. That might still be the case, but the amount the defense benefited from going up against a different offense shouldn’t be understated.

“It’s great work for us to see a different color jersey and a different kind of scheme on both sides of the ball,” head coach Vance Joseph said after Thursday’s joint practice with the 49ers. “It was a very productive practice.”

If anything, the sessions gave the Broncos the opportunity to hit a different player than they’ve been hitting for the last three weeks.

“That’s definitely the case,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said.”You start training camp and you go against each other day in and day out. You get tired of going against our offense and our offense gets tired of going against us. So the change of scenery going against the 49ers was good. The competition level and the energy was good. It was just a good two days for us.”

The 49ers are coming off off a tough 2016 season in which they only managed to walk away with two wins. Despite the fact that they ranked dead last in passing offense, San Francisco finished 2016 with the fourth-best rushing attack in the league. Seeing as how the Broncos’ run defense was one of their main weaknesses in 2016, there were things that the 49ers could help them improve upon.

“It gives us a different look than we’ve been seeing,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “It’s a solid offense. Any time you can practice against a solid offense, no game plan, just go out there and play your technique, that’s always great work.”

The 49ers have made major moves to push the franchise in a different direction in the eight months since they only mustered two wins. The hiring of new head coach Kyle Shanahan gave the Broncos the opportunity to go up against one of the brightest offensive minds in the game twice before actually playing against him on Saturday.

“We might not see any teams that run this type of offense,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “We probably won’t at all. Kyle Shanahan is probably one of, if he’s not the best, he’s one of them. The way he designs plays it’s always a great work when you’re going against his top offense.”

“I know Kyle [Shanahan],” Woods said. “I worked with him for two years when we were in Tampa Bay. He has a great offensive mind. You know when you go against him, that you’re going to go against good schemes and the running-pass scheme. If you can defend that and learn how to play, that will help you throughout the season.”

Even if the Broncos don’t see an offense like Shanahan’s the rest of the season, they’ll be ready if they do.

“Going against Kyle Shanahan, he’s a great offensive mind and a great offensive coach,” Harris Jr. said. “So it was a great week. You never know, we might see a team that has this type of offense. But on the schedule – I looked at the schedule – we don’t, and I’m kind of glad we don’t.”