NFL Insiders Report Broncos Training Camp Kicks Off With High Expectations

Patrick Surtain II strips Albert Okwegbunam of a touchdown pass. Photo By Bob Volpe

Bob Volpe

Over 2,000 screaming fans attended the first day of the Denver Broncos training camp last Wednesday, marking the beginning of the NFL preseason.

The Broncos are considered a contender for the 2023 Super Bowl, according to a variety of sports reports and early predictions. But this Denver optimism has been wrong in recent years.

This was the fans’ first chance to see Denver’s new quarterback Russell Wilson in action. Wilson was acquired by the Broncos in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks during the offseason.

Wilson connects with Sutton. Photo By Bob Volpe

When the team took the field, but before they began their pre-practice stretching routine, Place Kicker, Brandon McManus played pitch and catch with the fans sitting on the grassy berm that overlooks the practice field.

Wilson emerged from the locker room to a standing ovation from the crowd. He ran the length of the berm slapping hands with the fans and getting spectators all riled up.

I haven’t seen this much excitement in Bronco Country since the glory days of Peyton Manning 10 years ago. Wilson showed great leadership and excitement. He’s definitely in command in and out of the huddle, always encouraging teammates and brimming with confidence and energy.

Wilson threads the needle passed Josey Jewell on a pass to Jerry Jeudy. Photo By Bob Volpe

Gone are the days of Former Head Coach, Vic Fangio’s boring practice sessions. New Bronco Head Coach, Nathaniel Hackett, brought back the loud music blaring from speakers that Fangio had banned. Hackett is an animated guy and he bounced around like a superball from player to player, congratulating them on good plays and getting them amped up.

The better part of this day one practice was spent running 11-on-11 red-zone offense/defense. Wilson connected with several wide receivers for touchdowns, including a clutch catch by Tight End, Eric Saubert.

Tim Patrick goes high to catch a Wilson touchdown pass. Photo By Bob Volpe

After practice, Wide Receiver, Courtland Sutton and Safety, Justin Simmons met with the press. Both men said this year is way different from the dark days of the Fangio era. Simmons said, “Way different. Of course, bringing in Russ was huge, but every aspect of the game has improved in every area.”

Sutton spoke about the chemistry that the receivers are developing with Wilson. Several receivers joined Wilson at this personal facility in San Diego for additional training earlier in the year. Sutton said, “We were able to work on simple things, work on reps. It’s not just receivers, or tight ends, or whoever, doing what they do. We’re all learning the whole offense.”

Courtland Sutton hauls in a Wilson TD pass. Photo By Bob Volpe

He also stressed the idea that Wilson is one who communicates with his receivers. They talk about how to run routes, what to do with certain defensive looks, and how small things add up to success.

While excitement is high and expectations are even higher, the rubber meets the road when the Broncos open the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, September 12, in Seattle.

Wilson unloads a pass to Sutton. Photo By Bob Volpe

Bronco Sale Finalized

In other Bronco news, The National Football League’s Finance Committee has given the sale of the Denver Broncos to the Walton-Penner Family ownership group the green light, ahead of final approval from NFL team owners.

The league’s finance committee reviewed the sale agreement and unanimously recommended the Walton-Penner group, which also includes Walton’s daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner, be formally approved by the league owners when they meet in Minneapolis on Aug. 9. It will require at least 24 “yes” votes for approval. The Walton-Penner Family is purchasing the team for a record $4.65 billion.