Through the first two weeks of the preseason, the Denver Broncos led the league in pass attempts. That won’t be the case come Week 1.

Gary Kubiak knows he needs to put his quarterbacks through a trial by fire, and he’d much rather do that now, when the games don’t count, than in a few weeks, when they do.

When the Panthers come to town on September 8, though, we’ll be watching a very different Kubiak offense, an offense predicated on the run game, play-action passes and making the quarterback’s job as easy as possible.

“Our main focus right now is getting the running game going,” Demaryius Thomas said following Thursday’s practice. “All three quarterbacks can make every throw. Once we get the running game going, the passing game will come. I think it’ll be better than what we had last year. We’re going to be ready.”

And they should be. Last year, the running game never really came together. We saw it in spurts, but it sure didn’t look like a Kubiak rushing attack, and that’s because it wasn’t.

Last year, the Denver Broncos were still running the Peyton Manning offense — some version of it, at least — which meant that Kubiak, who’s had 14 top-10 rushing attacks in his 21 years as a coordinator or coach, could never truly get his hands dirty; the offensive characteristics that have driven his attack for so long — under-center play-action, bootlegs, deep passes — did not work for Manning.

That won’t be the case this season, and the Broncos backfield is ready for their opportunity to shine.

“We’re tremendous,” C.J. Anderson said. “The jump, the leap that we have is just non-explanatory. It’s just amazing where we’re at right now and we’re happy about that. I told [running backs coach Eric] Studesville earlier, I’m happy where we’re at this year than we were last year because a lot of things that we’re talking about this year, we didn’t know last year. That’s a good thing.”

There’s no getting around the fact that the Denver Broncos will be weak at quarterback. But if the rest of the offense can improve, starting with the running game, there’s a chance Denver can take a step forward as a whole in 2016.