ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Russell Wilson knows the Broncos' offense wasn't consistent enough in the two-minute drill in 2022.
There were some memorable moments — such as comeback wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars — but the Broncos were unable to snag wins in a number of other two-minute situations. Denver had nearly a half dozen chances to earn late-game wins that ultimately were unsuccessful.
Should the Broncos improve their success rate in that area, they'll move a long way toward getting back to postseason contention.
On Tuesday at Broncos training camp, Wilson and the Broncos' offense provided another example that the group may take a step forward in crunch time.
Facing a six-point deficit with less than two minutes to play and more than 70 yards to travel, Denver's first-team offense mounted a drive that ended with a 14-yard Courtland Sutton touchdown catch in traffic.
"We've done a really great job in those two-minute situations, I feel like, for the most part, in terms of really executing when we need to," Wilson said. "[Head] Coach [Sean] Payton does a great job of putting us in situations that we're going to have to win and be in these close games. Obviously, we felt like we weren't able to capitalize on some of those [last year]. This is a great opportunity to really establish how we're going to go about it and our thought process."
Wilson said two-minute work is also about the team's mentality, and the Broncos' offense showed the right makeup on a third-and-8 play from their own side of the field. On the critical snap, Wilson worked his way out of the pocket and found rookie Marvin Mims Jr. deep down the field for a 37-yard gain.
"It's always good for confidence," Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi said of the offense's success in the period. "During practice, sometimes you win a rep, sometimes you don't. The way that we structure it, there's a lot of running plays into looks that maybe we wouldn't [run] in a real game. You're really trying to focus on each individual guy and if they're doing their assignment, if they know what to do, if they're doing it the way that they're being taught.
"When you have a good play or a good series, it always makes you feel better."
The Broncos converted two other third downs on the drive, which ended with Sutton's touchdown catch with 15 seconds to play.
LEARNING THE OFFENSE
The Broncos' offense continues to look better as camp progresses, and Tuesday was no different.
Wilson connected with Greg Dulcich for a red-zone touchdown in 7-on-7 work, and he later delivered a perfect over-the-shoulder pass to Kendall Hinton in 11-on-11 red-zone action. He also found Jeudy in team action for a tight-window throw past a defender's fingertips that would have resulted in a long gain in game action.
"We've started going in some more game-like situations, running substitutions in off the sideline, radioing the calls," Lombardi said. "Just picking up that tempo and just operating like they know the offense a little better. The guys are working hard. They felt a little tired today, but [we are focused on] just the mental aspect and just operating a little quicker."
MIMS' BIG PLAY
The Broncos' top pick from this year's draft made a pair of catches in the two-minute drill and continues to work into practice after battling a hamstring injury earlier in camp.
"He's been hampered a little bit with the hamstring, so haven't gotten to look at him as much as you hope, but he made a big play today," Lombardi said. "He's got speed, plays hard, smart. Was a playmaker in college. Again, it's just been a few days. I don't think he's still quite up to full speed, but it was encouraging to see that play he had today. Those are the types of things we saw in college — the ability to stretch the field. We're hoping to see more of it as camp goes on."
… The Broncos' defense made its share of plays, as well. Cornerback Pat Surtain II recorded a pass breakup against Jerry Jeudy in early 11-on-11 action, and inside linebacker Alex Singleton would've delivered a tackle for loss on an ensuing run play. Outside linebacker Randy Gregory, meanwhile, would have drawn a hold under game conditions on a pass play later in that 11-on-11 period.
… Wide receiver Marquez Callaway made a few nice catches on Tuesday, including a deep touchdown reception in one-on-one drills and a contested catch in 11-on-11 work. Payton said Friday he hoped to see "a little bit more" from Callaway and Lil'Jordan Humphrey.
… Right tackle Mike McGlinchey and wide receiver Brandon Johnson exited practice early. Asked about McGlinchey's status, Lombardi said he didn't have details about the injury. Both players walked off the field under their own power.
… Safeties Justin Simmons (groin) and Kareem Jackson, cornerback Riley Moss (core), tight end Chris Manhertz and outside linebacker Aaron Patrick did not practice. Cornerback K'Waun Williams and tackle Garett Bolles did not participate in 11-on-11 work. Moss was back to observe practice following a procedure on Aug. 1.