The Denver Broncos are a work in progress.

Honestly, they have been since winning Super Bowl 50. But, considering it was Sean Payton’s first year as head coach in Denver, growing pains were to be expected.

Maybe not as many as we saw with the public benching of Russell Wilson and aftermath of it all, but all things considered, players overall like playing in the Mile High City.

Denver Broncos players gave the team 16th, Payton earned A-

Every year, the NFL Player’s Association sends out anonymous surveys to all the players in the league, and they compile the answers to hand out overall grades for each team. There are also letter grades for a variety of categories from “treatment of families,” to travel, coaching, and ownership.

In 2023, when Nathaniel Hackett was the head coach, Denver came in 23rd out of 32 teams. This year, they came in at 16th, with some notable improvements. Specifically, the team scored a B and B+ for “food” and “nutritionist/dietician” this year versus a D grade for food/nutrition last year.

One place the team scored lower this year was with their strength coaches, who received a C grade. In 2023, Loren Landow earned an A-, but was let go in February by Payton.

Unfortunately, head coaches weren’t graded last year because we’d get a sense of how much Hackett was liked or disliked. But this time around, Broncos players gave Payton an A-, even with all the negative news and some calling the head coach a bully.

Drilling down on his score a bit, 72% of players believe Payton is efficient with their time, which ranks 27th. And he ranks 24th when it comes to listening to players in the locker room.

The A- grade was tied for 17th among all coaches, with Andy Reid unsurprisingly earning the highest mark (A+). 95% of Chiefs players think he’s efficient with their time, and he’s 11th in terms of listening in the locker room. Ironically, the Super Bowl champions earned an overall grade of 31st due to ownership (F-), facility, and care issues. Sticking with the AFC West, the Raiders former coach Josh McDaniels (D) was lowest-rated in the league, but Las Vegas earned 9th overall. Meanwhile, the Chargers earned 30th overall.

Denver earned an A for ownership, specifically Greg Penner, who’s investing in the new training facility. That will likely help the team’s scores for the locker room (D), but the stadium will likely need updating too.

Extra nuggets of information

Only 80% of players received individualized workout plans from strength coaches. That ranked 27th, and players felt those coaches only improved their performance moderately (29th).

The good news is, that’s a clear and actionable place for the team to focus this offseason and moving forward.

One other random bit of information is Broncos players’ cars were broken into at team hotel for training camp. Not only that, but multiple players’ cars were stolen.

Again, with the upgrades in the training facility at Dove Valley, it seems a simple fix to add security to the team hotel during training camp. That, as well as daycare for families during game days, will likely be improved this year.