ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It’s not quite “School’s Out for Summer,” but the helmets are packed away, the practice fields are empty, and - for a passing moment - all is quiet on the Broncos front.
Call it the calm before the orange and blue storm.
After a blisteringly hot week of minicamp practices and several weeks of OTA sessions, the Broncos wrapped up offseason activities on Thursday, June 13 with a team-wide conditioning test – the final organized team activity until players return for training camp in late July.
Now, it’s up to players to condition themselves with a little rest and relaxation before kicking off the grueling stretch of training camp and preseason.
Emphasis upon “a little.”
“As I told them, we had a great offseason; we’re taking a little break here by design,”Head Coach John Fox said following the team’s final minicamp practice on June 13. “You guys have to trust us, we have to trust you going in to this and make good decisions, be smart and don’t mess up anything we’ve already accomplished.”
For players, there’s not much room for losing focus on football with training camp around the corner, where position battles will be waged, starters will be named, and for some, spots on the roster will be at stake – and that’s even before the intensity level gets kicked up another several notches in the regular season.
Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase stressed that staying football savvy and mentally engaged throughout the break will be crucial for his players.
“The biggest thing—our emphasis is stay in your book,” Gase said after the final minicamp practice. “Hey, take 20-30 minutes a day, review some things. Pick an installation and review that. It’s just, you don’t want to step away from it for too long because when you come back the last thing you want to do is totally be blanked on what’s going on.”
For many of the Broncos, most of the time away from the field will resemble anything but a vacation – unless you consider training and conditioning a vacation.
“I’ve got about 10 days. I’ll shut it down—not really shut it down because you can’t completely, all the way shut it down but I’m going to get out of here for 10 days,” Miller said, noting that his early return to Broncos headquarters will allow for almost a month of extra training. “Chill, relax, do some cardio and ab work for about 10 days and then I’ll be back here at the end of June getting ready for training camp.”
Miller isn’t the only one who will spend most of his time off at Broncos headquarters.
“Most of all, I’m just going to stay down here and train in Dove Valley,” defensive tackle
Still, for many players, the precious time between now and training camp is an opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones – and for taking a moment to breathe and enjoy life – until football takes over.
“I’m going to go back up to Madison (Wisc.),” rookie running back
“Spend some time with my family – I’m going home to Dallas,” defensive end
“I’m going on a little fishing trip with my dad and my brothers. That’s in Philadelphia,”Johnson said. “Then I’m going to go to Kansas for a little bit. Then I’m heading to Disney World for about a week. Then I’m shooting over to Dallas to train.”
Johnson will also take part in a faith-based football camp in Colorado Springs called Praise with the Pros before returning to Dove Valley to train.
“I’m doing a little of everything,” Johnson said.
Ultimately, it’s a chance for the Broncos to recharge and refocus.
But for a hungry and determined team of players, it’s tough to keep football on the backburner for much longer than the blink of an eye.
“I’m going to take about a week and kind of relax and get some things done that I need to get done,” receiver