ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The regular-season opener is five months away. Rookies won't arrive for their first meetings and practices for another month. Starters at some positions, including left tackle, may not yet be on the roster.
All that gives the impression that there is a long time between now and Week 1. Vance Joseph wanted to convey the opposite, offering what he dubbed a "friendly reminder" that the clock is already ticking.
"It's not much time. For us, it's 38 days," the Broncos' new head coach said, citing the number of days the Broncos have for organized workouts and practices between now and the end of OTAs.
"There's no time to waste. That was the overall message."
The Broncos are back at UCHealth Training Center to prepare for the 2017 season, beginning their offseason workout program. (photos by Ben Swanson)
In that limited time, the learning goes in all directions. Players must learn the schemes, although there is plenty of carryover from last year, which will aid returning veterans. The new coaches, in turn, must learn more about their players' abilities, everyday habits and how their personalities fit.
"That takes time," Joseph said. "I've met probably half the team until today. It takes time to see what you're working with here.
"Obviously, the film in the past, the discussion about players, that kind of helps you. But as far as knowing what we've got to work with here, that takes time. That's going to take an entire offseason to figure out. I'm looking forward to it, though."
Joseph often speaks of how this job offers something relatively unusual for a new head coach: the chance to win now. He inherits a team with an elite defense that believes it is a tweak or two from returning to the Super Bowl, a level it reached twice in the four seasons before his arrival.
That's an opportunity, but it also comes with a downside: He has no chance to grow into the job. When the head coach has to "win from now on," as John Elway often says, the honeymoon is brief.
On Monday, Joseph embraced that.
"The honeymoon's over, guys," he announced to the media. "It's football time."