ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos drilled the details during their final OTA practice of the offseason.

“We spent all of the walkthrough—you guys saw it—on about eight different situations,” head coach Sean Payton said.

The situations Payton was referring to were based on the end of halves and the end of games. The number of seconds changed. The down changed. The score changed. But each was a very unique situation when a player might need to get out of bounds, call a quick timeout, or the special teams might have to

The correct way to execute each situation is obvious—you’d scream at your TV if somebody botched it—but executing them all properly every time requires work in advance.

“It’s really just trying to get really specific with the details of certain game situations that actually happen,” Payton said. “We have video of it, and we have statistics of it. What’s the strategy when it happens?”

Payton’s teams grind through those situations during the offseason. During training camp, they pick out two per day to stay fresh on.

“There’s a board where there’s 43 things that are unique end of game, end of half, and sometimes middle of the game situations,” Payton said. “They may come up once every four weeks—maybe once every two years.”

One mistake every two years might not sound like much, but in these situations, that mistake could be the difference between a win and a loss.

“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,” Payton said. “They have to know those cold, and they have to know what we’re thinking so that when they come up, we can execute.”

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton says this process is unique.

“I’ve had a lot of coaches here over the past few years,” Sutton said. “Coach Payton is a guy that’s been very firm on his emphasis on his attention to detail.”

Sutton believes that the situational work will be valuable.

“It shows us that he understands and knows what to do when we get into these games,” Sutton said. “Everything to him is very intricate.”

Payton said OTAs are the perfect time to do situational awareness work because the team doesn’t need to be in pads, which aren’t allowed at this point in the offseason.

The mental work isn’t going to stop now that OTAs are over, though.

“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.”


Henry was born in Columbia Falls, Montana and graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 2015. He earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Montana in 2019. After graduation, he joined DNVR. He spent three years covering the University of Colorado before moving to the Broncos beat ahead of the 2022 season. Henry joined DNVR as a remote staff writer in 2017, providing support to BSN's Broncos beat reporters. He interned at DNVR headquarters in the summer of 2018 and accepted a full-time position after graduating from UM. Follow Henry on Twitter - @HenryChisholm