BACK TO ‘FOOTBALL SCHOOL’
The Broncos’ more veteran players did not take part in the annual rookie minicamp, of course, but they have been hard at work in recent weeks during the offseason workout program, progressing through the stages that started with strength and conditioning workouts before gradually ramping up to football activities as spring goes on.
And during that period, it’s also been a learning experience for the new coaching staff as it jells together.
“With our team, currently we’re in Phase II,” Payton said. “In that, simply, we’re still lifting, running and doing a lot of that. That’s gone well. Phase II allows you to get on the field. … It’s not this [rookie minicamp], it’s more football school. We made this comment in the staff meeting; we’re getting our logistics as coaches, where we’re at with the stations, where I expect drills to be, where I expect players, what I expect it’s supposed to look like.”
RAMS JOINT PRACTICE IN THE WORKS?
In each of the previous two years, the Broncos have conducted a joint practice against another team before playing them in a preseason game.
And with the Rams coming to town in August, Denver’s hoping to make it a third straight year, Payton said Saturday.
Payton noted that nothing has been announced yet, but he said the intention is for the Broncos to welcome the Rams to Denver for a joint practice during the week leading up to a preseason Week 3 game vs. Los Angeles.
“We’re on the road with two games, and I think the goal is to have a joint practice with the Rams,” Payton said. “[Rams head coach] Sean [McVay] and I have talked, and then I know that obviously the ownership groups are connected, and [Rams general manager] Les [Snead] and [Broncos GM] George [Paton]. There’s been no announcement made, but I think our hopes and goal is to have a chance to practice here. … So our goal is to have a joint practice with Los Angeles and then play that third game.”
The Broncos’ preseason game vs. the Rams is slated for Aug. 26 at Empower Field at Mile High.
Denver previously has taken part in joint practices on 13 occasions, including last year’s practice with the Cowboys at the Broncos’ team headquarters and 2021’s practices against the Vikings. From 2014-19, joint practices were an annual occurrence, with five of those being held at the Broncos’ training facility.
One immediately noticeable difference from previous offseason practices was that players’ helmets were almost completely blank, all without the usual Broncos logo decals on the sides.
Payton said it doesn’t represent any kind of symbolic meaning, though — nothing to do with having to earn it or anything like that.
“It’s the spring, so the equipment guys have to begin to put stuff on helmets or not,” Payton said. “There’s nothing significant about that other than … it’s really just simply a functional decision. Let’s make sure that we’ve got the tape on the front with their last name. And then training camp start the same way and at some point we’ll put the logos on the helmets. It’s probably just because that’s what we’ve always done, and it’s easier for the equipment room. It’s not this, ‘Hey, you haven’t earned it,’ because these logos aren’t going to be on for any of them this whole offseason. There’s just no reason. I think everyone knows they’re all Denver Broncos players; there’s no confusion. But I think more just practical.”