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As Broncos wrap up offseason program, coaches recognize team's progress

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The work is not done, but the foundation is in place.

Denver has completed its offseason program, as the team wrapped up mandatory minicamp this week after a nine-week voluntary offseason program. Through a series of practices — including those during voluntary veteran minicamp in April and rookie minicamp in May — the Broncos have installed new systems on both sides of the ball.

The schemes have been introduced — the entire offensive and defensive systems were taught this offseason — and the team is in the midst of perfecting its execution.

"It's going to be never-ending," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Monday of the Broncos' learning process. "No matter how many years you go, you're always going to be developing and getting better. For us, the guys are having fun, the guys are getting after it and they're competing, which is the most important thing. When it comes to understanding the systems and understanding the reasons why we're doing the plays, all those things will always grow every day. They're all doing a fine job and they're all working so hard. I appreciate that from all of them."

Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten, though, said he's seen the team exceed other rosters he's previously worked with in terms of their understanding and buy-in.

"They've done a great job," Outten said Tuesday. "I've seen a really good jump this offseason compared to previous offseasons, especially the first year, of just the buy-in. It takes weeks, it takes months for it to click. There were some really good clips throughout this whole camp of it coming together and making it look the way it should."

That success is in no small part because of the coaches. Outten noted that it took almost a year for himself and Hackett to learn the fine details of the system, but he's seen a strong understanding from the coaching staff that is working under the scheme for the first time.

Defensively, the Broncos have also laid a foundation. Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero has implemented a similar system to the one former head coach Vic Fangio guided in Denver over the last three years, but there are subtle tweaks and terminology differences that require a complete installation.

"It's a process," Evero said Tuesday. "You work through the offseason and obviously into training camp and the season. I do feel like we're right where we need to be. We still have a long time before we play games. I think where we are is where we should be. We'll get into training camp, and we'll get a little bit better. I think we'll be game ready come the Seattle game."

The Broncos' work is indeed just beginning. The team will return for training camp in late July and will use a series of practices and preseason games to prepare for a Week 1 meeting in Seattle.

For now, though, the Broncos will break for the summer, at least for a while. Russell Wilson revealed plans to host another throwing session, and numerous players talked about the need to stay ready for training camp and the season ahead.

Denver's made no secret of its goals this year — both in winning the AFC West and competing for a Super Bowl. To reach that pinnacle is a process, and with the end of the offseason program, the Broncos have finished that first stage.

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