ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the fifth of the Broncos' behind-the-scenes docuseries "Behind the Broncos: No Shortcuts" debuted on Friday night, it concluded the series' first season with wide-ranging look at several parts of the offseason away from the desk of General Manager George Paton, who had been the been the series' primary focus, as well as the team-building process.
With free agency and the draft well behind us, the season finale instead focuses on five different subjects — Kleine, Phifer, Fant, Sutton and Bridgewater — before concluding with footage of the team field day that capped the offseason program.
Read on to learn what some of our favorite moments from the episode, and click above to check out the full episode.
MEETING THE NEWCOMERS
We've previously heard from Kleine, but it's always vital to hear her perspective as a trail-blazing figure as one of the most high-profile women in professional sports, and she continues to discuss the importance and growing role of women in sports in the episode.
"I think women have a huge, huge place in the NFL — all across sports — and it keeps growing, and it's going to keep continuing to grow," Kleine said. "Women belong. And I think it shows younger girls too, who want to work in sports — if it's the NFL, NHL, whatever it is — women belong in all these men's leagues."
Phifer, meanwhile, talks about what's impressed him so far about being with the team.
"It's a great organization — a lot of history here," Phifer said. "A lot of familiar faces, and that speaks to the organization. They value people that do their job well, they keep them around. I got this opportunity to come here and work for this organization, so I'm excited to make that step."
'I'M PUTTING MY DOWN PAYMENT DOWN'
Then we travel back to before the team's offseason program to visit with Fant in Los Angeles, as he lays his foundation for the upcoming season.
As he hopes to exceed expectations and launch himself into the top tier of tight ends in the league, he shares what he's been working on to get ready.
"Man, I've been busting my butt this offseason and you've got to put all the work in in the offseason to get all the results in the season," Fant said. "My focus has definitely been — first thing — getting healthy, getting my body healthy and right. Then change of direction has been a main focus this year. Obviously I want to take that step to become a top tight end in the league, so I'm putting my down payment down right now and hoping for the best when the season comes.
THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
Then it's back to UCHealth Training Center, where we hear from Sutton as he continues to progress in his recovery from a torn ACL a year ago.
The most interesting part of this bit may be Sutton explaining his mindset and how what may appear to be a setback may help him be better upon his return.
"After the surgery, I became wet clay again," Sutton said. "It's almost like you're molding it back up into the spot you wanted it in. You get to go in and fix the things that you might not have loved, but you might not have had the time to actually go in and fix that."
And even amid the frustrating periods of the rehab, he made sure to maintain an even-keel outlook.
"It was discouraging at first, frustrating. But I gave myself some time to go through those emotions, and then after that, I knew I had to turn the switch to really turn my mental game into a me vs. me, and I was going to win every time. I was going to make sure I attacked every day, every rep — anything. I was going to attack that joint so my knee can get to the spot that I want it to get to, so the 2.0 can be real."
One of the Broncos with the most eyes on him this offseason has been Bridgewater, the quarterback the Broncos brought in via a trade with Carolina. The veteran is in the middle of a competition for the starting spot with the younger Drew Lock, but Bridgewater says his experience — both in football and before it — have helped prepare him for this time in his life.
"Just looking back, I think life has prepared me for this moment, for this opportunity," Bridgewater said. "Throughout my life, when I was younger, I moved around a lot. Different homes, different neighborhoods, communities. So that's been the story of my life, and I think that everything happens for a reason, and I'm in this opportunity now, in this position now, to just come in and make an impact, whether it's leadership or on the field."
And in looking at the rest of the team's makeup, Bridgewater is impressed with the talent throughout the locker room, and on either side of the ball.
"You look at the roster and you just sit back and say, 'Wow, man. This is a talented football team,'" Bridgewater said. "You have guys who can change games, guys who can give you explosive plays, guys who can move the sticks, guys who can do different things. I'm just happy to be a part of this offense, be a part of this team — not just the offense, because the defense has some stars as well. When you look at the overall roster, you can't do anything but smile, knowing that it's an opportunity for you to just come in and succeed."