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Mile High Morning: The top storylines for Broncos OTAs


The Lead

The first opportunity to see the new-look Broncos in action has arrived.

The Broncos will host their first open practice of the offseason on Thursday, as the team continues its OTA practices.

Local media members will be able to observe the session, which can include 11-on-11 action.

The Broncos previously hosted the media for a rookie minicamp practice, but this will be the first opportunity to see the veteran players on the field since Head Coach Sean Payton was hired.

With the caveat that the season remains months away and it's still the offseason, there will be plenty to watch when the Broncos take the field.

Here's a look at some of the top storylines:


In his introductory press conference, Payton noted that Broncos fans could expect "a completely different culture."

That new culture likely extends far beyond the practice field, but members of the media will get another chance — following rookie minicamp — to see how that translates to on-field work.


The Broncos will look to improve in several facets in 2023, but their offense must be at or near the top of the list. Denver averaged just 16.9 points per game last season — which ranked 32nd — and the offense must be more potent for the Broncos to find success.

Enter Payton, who has a long history of offensive success.

Thursday's practice will be the first opportunity to see quarterback Russell Wilson at the helm of Payton's offense, and there's plenty of intrigue to see how he and his teammates look in the new scheme.


The Broncos took a well-documented aggressive approach in free agency, and Thursday should be the first time to see additions like Mike McGlinchey, Ben Powers, Zach Allen and others on the field.

Denver's rookies — including Day 2 picks Marvin Mims Jr., Drew Sanders and Riley Moss — should also see some of their first action among the veteran players.

The Broncos' success in 2023 will, in part, be reliant on the contributions of new additions. On Thursday, members of the media will get a chance to see how they're adjusting to a new team.


Denver's defense was the highlight of the 2022 season, and they'll look to remain as formidable in 2023.

After four seasons in the Vic Fangio scheme, though, it's possible the Broncos' defense now looks different. Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph leads the group, and it will be compelling to see how a talented unit — including players like Pat Surtain II and Justin Simmons — can put together an encore performance in 2023.


The Broncos suffered an unfathomable number of injuries in 2022, which means multiple key players could be back on the field for the first time since their respective injuries.

Wide receiver Tim Patrick, outside linebacker Randy Gregory, running back Javonte Williams, tackle Garett Bolles and center Lloyd Cushenberry III are among last year's starters who missed extended time in 2022, and their participation status in Thursday's practice will be of interest.

Payton previously said he's hopeful Williams will be ready for the start of training camp, which would suggest he is unlikely to participate in the offseason program. The statuses of the other four players — and a handful of others who suffered injuries — could gain more clarity on Thursday.

[UPDATE: Williams practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday.]

Below the Fold

The Broncos signed a number of college free agents following the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Denver Post's Parker Gabriel selected a few to watch during OTAs.

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