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Broncos Notebook: Denver's starters expected to see 20-24 snaps in matchup with 49ers

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' starters should see more action when Denver faces the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday in Santa Clara.

Head Coach Sean Payton said Thursday he expects his starters to play 20-24 snaps in the Broncos' second preseason matchup.

Denver's first-team offense played 20 snaps in Week 1, while the starting defense played 15 snaps.

Offensively, Payton said he hoped to see sharp execution.

"You want to see flow and rhythm in the game," Payton said. "Ultimately, you want to see touchdowns. That's the main objective when you're playing on offense. Little bit better in protection, and a lot of the details that we looked at from a week ago."

On the other side of the ball, Payton echoed Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph's emphasis on situational football and tackling.

"There are a handful of things," Payton said. "We're playing a good running offense this week. It's a team that, year in and year out, runs it as well as anyone in our league. We'll get challenged in that way."

While the Broncos' starters will play an increased number of snaps, running back Javonte Williams is expected to see 10-12 plays in his first game action since injury, according to Payton.

"I'm going to be smart," Payton said. "He's not going to get 20 plays. In a perfect game, I'd like to see him get three or four carries — maybe a pass [reception] — and just get him going."

Payton said he also expects wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. to make his preseason debut after being held out of the first game.

The performance of Williams, Mims and Denver's starters will help determine whether the Broncos are able to bounce back with a win. As Payton stressed again on Thursday, the result is important — even if it doesn't count in the standings.

"It does matter," Payton said. "It's a mindset. You have to be able to get the evaluations done, but it would have been a better feeling last week if we had won that game. I probably would have been a little cheerier in the postgame presser. I think it matters."


The Broncos may be finished with open practices, but Payton emphasized that the training camp work would continue into next week.

Through 17 practices, though, Payton said the Broncos are on track.

"From a coach's perspective, there's always meat left on the bone," Payton said. "We're hitting these situations we're installing, and I'd say we're pretty much on schedule. The answer's never 'yes' to that question if you ask a coach."

Payton said he's learned a decent amount about players during training camp, but he's hoping to gather more information ahead of the start of the regular season.

"For me, [it's about] the exposure to game film last weekend, and the names and who's doing what," Payton said. "I'm hopeful to learn a lot more. I just finished talking about the younger players finding advocates to make the roster. Generally speaking, in the preseason, it's pretty common where a guy returns a kick, blocks a punt, does something on defense or offense, and they kind of help make the decisions for you. That's what we're looking for, especially from Week 1 to Week 2 with this young class."

For those young players, Payton said their performances in games and in practices both get evaluated.

"We talk about it twice a week," Payton said. "We update it with how they're doing. You begin to formulate opinions. Someone asked me the other day, 'Is it more game, or is it more practice?' Honestly, I think it's the whole body of work. When we were in school, we had quizzes and we had tests, and the game would be a test. If you messed around on a bunch of quizzes, like I used to, then the test was important because you didn't do well on the quizzes. It's all part of the equation."

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