ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It felt like an end to offseason work Tuesday at Broncos minicamp … and as it turned out, it was.
The Broncos announced Wednesday morning that they would scratch their final day of offseason practices, putting a lid on their springtime work.
And that’s just fine.
Calling off the final practice in favor of a team-bonding activity — or just telling everyone to scatter — is like a Christmas bonus. It’s nice, but to some degree, you expect it.
It’s also a June practice — which would have been conducted with players thinking about their flights out. What could Nathaniel Hackett accomplish now that he didn’t handle in the last three months?
Wide receiver Tim Patrick noted in recent weeks how much work goes into learning the offense — “meetings, meetings, meetings,” he said. Russell Wilson pointed out this week that he would gather some of his offensive teammates in San Diego towards the end of their June/July downtime for refresher work on grasping the scheme. That comes on top of the work they did in March, with Wilson hosting a cluster of teammates one week … and then working one-on-one with Jerry Jeudy later when Jeudy’s schedule made him available.
They have — and will — put in the time. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a day.
And it’s not like this hasn’t worked for other regimes.
Sean McVay canceled the final minicamp session of his first year on the job with the Los Angeles Rams. They promptly had both their first division title and winning season in 14 years.
Kyle Shanahan not only called off the final OTA of the 49ers’ 2021 offseason — he canceled the subsequent minicamp entirely. They overcame scattershot quarterback play to come within one game of the Super Bowl.
Bill Belichick called off the Patriots’ final three practices this year. That’s a guy who knows what he’s doing, right?
So, why didn’t it work for Vic Fangio? Oh, maybe because his quarterbacks were among the lesser lights at the position.
Fangio didn’t fail because he held Field Days in 2019 and 2021, the years he could hold typical offseason work. He failed because of game-management issues, player-relations problems and because — as he pointed out in his last full day on the job — other teams in the division had “top-shelf” quarterbacks.
It’s okay to do something kind for your players. To have some fun. And that’s what the Broncos will do. Their practice Tuesday was spirited. It showed an intensity and energy lacking in offseason work of the previous regime.
That’s a good way to end two months of work.