ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos are just one day into training camp, and their season opener in Seattle won't arrive for nearly seven more weeks.
For an offense that's learning a new system, there's still plenty of time to work out the kinks.
On the heels of his first training camp practice as a Bronco, though, Russell Wilson believes Denver's offense has made great strides in their preparation.
"Everybody is so locked in," Wilson said Wednesday. "For example, we had an early morning walkthrough — me and the guys — and [we were] just getting that work in. Guys are lasered in, ready to work [and willing to] do everything that we have been doing all OTAs and all summer. Even in California, we were putting the work in with just that bonding time, and it really showed today. Defense looked great, offense looked great, and special teams, too. It was just a great first day. To be where we are and to have a new head coach like Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett, we are so far along. We are going to be really prepared."
The Broncos' offense showed signs of that at times on Wednesday, as Wilson threw an impressive red-zone touchdown to Eric Saubert.
Hackett said he'll aim to speed up the learning curve via meetings and walkthrough, but he's noted that he's already impressed with the team's new signal caller.
"It's a new system, a new team, so everything is new," Hackett said. "Just watching his composure, his command of the huddle and working the system is what we're looking for. We all know what he can do on the field when he gets going and when you simplify it down to a specific gameplan for that week. He's doing great and only going to get better every day."
Wilson, who said he arrived at UCHealth Training Center before dawn on Wednesday, noted the work necessary for the offense to thrive — and for the Broncos to reach a championship standard.
"Any time you have a great team, a championship team, a winning-type team, or a team that can go all the way, which I think we have the capability of that, it has to be player-led," Wilson said. "It has to be the time extra that you spend — and there is a parameter. Someone tells you, 'Hey, you have to spend four hours, five hours, 10 hours with practice every day' — are we going to do the extra work as a team to do that? That's what we're focused on. We're all collectively doing that."
Wilson mentioned both an early morning walkthrough with Montrell Washington and a recent time when Jerry Jeudy joined a quarterbacks meeting for extra film study.
"Any time you want to be successful, you have to put the work in," Wilson said. "There's no magic pill, no hidden tricks, no nothing. It's just, 'Are you going to do the work, are you going to do everything it takes and are you going to sacrifice every single day?' That's what we're doing and that's what we've done. What we did today doesn't mean anything tomorrow. I'm excited about it."
The Broncos' offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers and tight ends looked a little different on Wednesday, as they wore protective helmet coverings called Guardian Caps during practice.
The padded caps are mandated by the league for the first time, and Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said certain players would wear them until the team's second preseason game on Aug. 20.
"We talk about the team all the time," Hackett said. "It's about protecting the team. If that's going to help anybody, then we are going to do it."
Though outside linebacker Bradley Chubb admitted the Guardian Caps felt a bit heavy and weren't the most fashionable, he said he was more than willing to wear them if it helped prevent concussions and made him and his teammates safer.
Hackett and the Broncos also discovered a potential unexpected benefit of linemen wearing the caps.
"I was talking with [Defensive Line] Coach [Marcus] Dixon out there, and he was talking about how stuff happens [because] everyone is playing as hard as they can," Hackett said. "I think it gives a little bit more protection to the quarterback if, all of a sudden, his hand comes forward [and hits a helmet], and it's a little bit softer than a helmet."
If Wilson's hand hits one of his lineman's helmets on his follow-through, it's possible the cap could spare him from an injury.
'I WANT TO BE HERE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME'
Following Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's contract extension and speculation about a deal for Baltimore's Lamar Jackson, Wilson was asked if he hopes to sign an extension this offseason.
"I don't really worry about those guys and what they're doing," Wilson said. "Awesome for them. Obviously Kyler, great for him. Obviously Lamar, his situation. It has nothing to really do with me. I'm excited to be here — I know that. I know I want to be here for a long, long time, hopefully for the rest of my career. It's been a blessing just to be here with these guys. Just to be here with George Paton, he's been amazing to me. Coach Hackett, first-class, an unbelievable mind. Unbelievable how he leads this football team, the rest of the staff, players, organization. This is a tremendous honor. Every day, I look at it as treating every day as a new day. … That's my focus. That's my sole focus — and winning a Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos."
On Tuesday, Paton said he would keep any potential contract negotiations "in-house" but said that the Broncos would get a deal done with Wilson at the right time.