The three-part 2022 training camp edition of Behind the Broncos has dropped, and the episodes provide an inside look at training camp and the Broncos' preseason slate.
In Episode 1, we learn how Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett defines a championship mentality, join Russell Wilson on his drive to Empower Field at Mile High and get a behind-the-scenes view of the first preseason game.
In Episode 2, Justin Simmons and Pat Surtain II walk us through some of their best plays during training camp, and the Broncos reunite with a good friend in Buffalo.
And in the series finale, we get a closer look at the Broncos' preseason finale and are able to watch how the team's roster takes shape ahead of final cuts to get the roster down to the mandatory 53-man limit.
Here are some of our favorite moments from the trio of episodes, but make sure to check out the full episodes to see the rest, including glimpses inside the fun, competitive games that take place during team meetings and why Hackett enjoys fostering a competitive spirit even outside of football.
A FIRST LOOK AT THE NEW LOCKER ROOM
As the 2022 season got underway, the Broncos unveiled a newly renovated home locker room at Empower Field at Mile High. Players and coaches got to see it for the first time when they arrived for the preseason Week 1 game against the Cowboys.
Their reactions were priceless, ranging from awe and disbelief to bubbling excitement. Justin Simmons was one of the first players to arrive, and he didn't know how to fully express his thoughts on the team's new digs.
"I don't even know if I can put it into words — are you serious?" Simmons said as he walked around the locker room. "Look at this place; this is amazing."
KJ Hamler was blown away as soon as he walked in the door, repeatedly shouting, "Ooh!" as he took everything in.
"Oh, they went crazy," Melvin Gordon III said as he arrived. "You hear me? Y'all went crazy. I don't know if this was the Walton family, I don't know if it was George [Paton], I don't know if this was Broncos Country. But whoever it was, that's what I'm talking about."
COACH HACKETT'S VICTORY SPEECH
Following the 17-7 win over the Cowboys, Hackett gave his first postgame victory speech of the season, and it is impossible not to feel fired up after watching it.
"That was really fun to be a part of right there; I think everybody enjoyed that," Hackett said to kick off his speech. "We all get after it nonstop, right? Every day we're busting our butts, we're working so hard, and then we were able to go out there and execute and do some real good stuff. I mean, how great does that [stuff] feel? That's a credit to all you guys."
He gave appreciation to the starters, who were enthusiastically supporting from the sidelines, and shouted out multiple players who impressed him. He praised P.J. Locke for his interception, Baron Browning and multiple players on offense, including wide receiver Jalen Virgil.
"Virgil! Holy [expletive]!" Hackett shouted, receiving thunderous applause. "Three [receptions] for 83 [yards]!"
Hackett closed his speech by showing his appreciation for how hard the team has worked and noted that they still have a lot to improve on.
"I'm telling you, it was so much fun to be out there with you guys," Hackett said. "I can't tell you that enough. I mean, all you guys fighting for each other, we've got new guys that are running the rock, all kinds of good stuff."
IRON SHARPENING IRON
Simmons and Pat Surtain II are a one-two punch in the Broncos' secondary, and they have enormous respect for one another. In the second episode, they discussed what they admire about the other's game and how they make each other better — and even cooler, they broke down tape together of their top plays from training camp.
"The thing that's impressed me the most — you know, we got to start working with Pat last year — has just been how much of the game he already knows and how slow the game is for him already," Simmons said. "As soon as Pat got in here, it looked like he was a five, six, seven, eight-year vet. I always thought, 'I don't know how much more he can improve from Year 1 to Year 2,' just because his rookie year was so great. I'm excited for him."
Surtain views Simmons as an example to follow, and he praised the veteran safety's work ethic.
"The biggest thing I've learned was definitely the way [that] he approached it," Surtain said. "Coming in, he's laser-focused and dialed in. The way how he just prepares each and every Sunday, each and every week. [He] takes the film study serious, the preparation serious, [and] it just shows on Sundays. That's the biggest thing I've learned from Justin."
REUNITING WITH VON MILLER
The final scene of Episode 2 shows several Broncos players sharing hugs, handshakes and kind words with former teammate Von Miller before and after the preseason Week 2 game against the Bills. Many players shared the field with Miller for years and developed close friendships with the eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 50 MVP outside linebacker.
"Hey, big brother," Dalton Risner said as he embraced Miller in a hug during pregame warmups. "How are you, man? I've missed you, brother. I wanted to give you a big hug."
Miller and Garett Bolles recreated their old handshake, and Gordon playfully tackled Miller to the ground. It was an emotional reunion, and Miller had nothing but praise for the Broncos organization.
"It'll be love forever, man," Miller said after the game. "It's Broncos Country forever, man. I can't say enough about that team, and they've got a great quarterback, a great head coach. The sky's the limit for those guys."
A PEEK INSIDE CLOSED DOORS
As the Broncos' personnel staff and coaches meet to discuss shaping the initial 53-man roster, we get a look inside the room as General Manager George Paton moderates a discussion about the team.
"Who is out, in that group?" Paton says about an unspecified position group. "That's the biggest — that's our biggest dilemma there, because they're all good."
That includes input from a number of coaches, and at one point Paton calls on Special Teams Coordinator Dwayne Stukes for his insight on how a player performs in the game's third phase.
"We don't see him as a four-core special teams player," Stukes says of an unidentified player. "It's not a lack of effort; it's just him making those blocks that he should have made on kickoff return."
And for Hackett, we hear him share some of his thoughts on another player — "just a guy that can make a dang play … who could get you some explosive plays."
THE RESULTS OF THE PROCESS
The result is the initial roster, and while that group that will fluctuate over the season, it does not diminish the achievement of making the team, especially for the underdog players.
"When a guy makes the team and he might not have felt like he was going to, or he has had a unique journey, a guy that has been at multiple teams or a guy that might not have been drafted and didn't think he had a chance, I think it is awesome to be able to let him know that he's made the team," Hackett says. "And the pure joy that those guys have, because of all the hard work that they've put in, everything that they've done, from lifting to training to practice, to being at the very bottom and slowly inching and working their way up, there's nothing better than seeing a guy's face when he's actually made that 53 and knows that he's going to be part of our season. It's one of the best things about this business."
Next, we get a look inside Hackett's team meeting as he sets expectations and emphasizes the mindset the team should have as the regular season is about to finally start.
"Congratulations to everybody that's in this room," Hackett says. "This is the crew that we're going to utilize that we want to get as far as we can get. And we only know where that is. We all set that thing. Hey, let's be real. We're all in this room to win a Super Bowl. I mean, everyone says 'Super Bowl or bust' — it's not that. … That's why we do this. We don't do this just to do one game a time. Now, the idea is we can't lose sight of it's a long season now. So understand: This is the time now. There's no excuses. So that's our number one goal right now. And every week it changes. It's a long season. In the end, we want to be rolling, rolling, rolling and get better and better and better as the season goes, because you want to hit it on a roll getting into the playoffs. … So we've got to have that great focus on everything we do, and we've got to be ready to rock and roll. Let's be on it, let's continuously work and get better through all that stuff. Just know, guys: It begins now. There are no excuses. Congratulations again, the 2022 Denver Broncos. … We need everybody in this room, so everybody's got to get their minds right."