ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — During his introductory press conference in February, Head Coach Sean Payton vowed that no detail would be too small to matter.
From the size of the team's towels to the stereo system in the locker room, nothing was too minute to be overlooked.
That philosophy extends to the field, which was evident as the Broncos' OTAs concluded on Thursday. During the session, the Broncos ran through several end-of-game and end-of-half scenarios to be prepared should they face such a situation this season.
"I've had a lot of coaches here over the past few years, and Coach Payton … has been very firm on his emphasis on the attention to detail, whether it's pre-snap penalties, whether it's guys staying back when we're running plays," wide receiver Courtland Sutton said. "Everything to him is very [intentional]. There's a rhyme and a reason to everything he's doing. For us to be working on situational football in OTAs as in-depth as we are is amazing. It shows us that he understands and knows what to expect when we get into these games. There's going to be no [wavering]. There's going to be no question marks. Everybody understands that he knows what he's doing. We're all going to be on the same page [and] we're going to go out there and execute."
That work, Payton said Thursday, will continue throughout training camp and the season as the team prepares for dozens of possible scenarios. Payton said there's 43 end-of-game, end-of-half or other in-game scenarios for which the team needs to be prepared, and they focused on about eight of them on Thursday.
"There's all types of situations that can happen in the game, and you can cover as many as you can and hope that if a situation comes about that you haven't prepared for, other situations that you prepared for will get you right for that situation," Sutton said. "I'm pretty sure over the course of minicamp, training camp, we'll probably go over 75. I'm pretty sure we'll have those covered."
When the Broncos will need to reflect back on this preparation isn't quite clear. Some scenarios, Payton said, will come up once a month. Others, the team may not see for two years.
"We begin teaching those, and not just to those involved," Payton said. "In a perfect world, the whole bench is going to know what to expect at the end of the game in a certain situation. … They have to know those cold, and they have to know what we're thinking so that when they come up, we can execute. If you don't address one, because it doesn't come up until every two years, then you're going to be faced with it, and no one's going to know what to do. It's really just trying to get really specific with the details of certain game situations that actually happen. We have video of it, and we have statistics of it. What's the strategy when it happens?"
Payton said the Broncos will drill two scenarios during each training camp practice — and then once the regular season begins — to remain mentally sharp.
"Throughout the season, we're going to repeat and repeat," Payton said. "We're not going to cover 42 a week, but we're going to repeat situations so that when they come up in the game, there's clear and calm thought and everyone's on the same page."
And while every coach spends time on these specific situations, the detailed manner in which Payton has approached the process has stood out.
"I've done some of this stuff before with other coaches, but this is definitely very detailed, very specific to things," inside linebacker Josey Jewell said, "which is great, because you think about the NFL games, they all come down to one-score games usually, and a lot of them come down to two-minute. That's a huge priority for us: ending the game on the right note."
In 2022, the Broncos lost three overtime games, a pair of one-point contests and nine one-score decisions — and in those types of games, every play and every opportunity matters.
Denver surely hopes its end-of-game preparation can flip those results during the season ahead.