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Returning Javonte Williams, leaner Russell Wilson highlight day one of Broncos OTAs

The Denver Broncos are back on the field in preparation for the 2023 NFL season, and along with a participating Javonte Williams and toned up Russell Wilson, several Broncos made themselves known on day one of OTAs

NFL: Denver Broncos OTA Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Day one of Denver Broncos organized team activities (OTAs) is in the books, and the start of the Sean Payton era for the team presented some pretty promising developments.

First and foremost, running back Javonte Williams, who made a name for himself as a bulldozing rookie with superstar potential before a devastating knee injury set him back, was back in practice in a limited capacity.

Williams’ presence is a major development for the team, as there had been rumors he wouldn’t be ready to do much of anything by the start of the season, much less before it. Him being out there this early, even in a limited capacity, is amazing news for the Broncos’ 2023 season.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the team couldn’t use a third proven back behind Williams and Samaje Perine, but it should at the very least provide optimism that the best backfield prospect the Broncos has had in years may be ready to compete sooner than expected.

Also of note from day one is that QB Russell Wilson, the man at the front of a historical NFL trade that handcuffed the Broncos only to completely underwhelm in every way, is visibly looking like a man willing to atone for his misgivings.

Not that it was all, or even a majority of it, his fault for last season’s offensive woes, Wilson still, in his inaugural Broncos season, looked lost, unprepared, out of sync, and if nothing else, unfit.

To say unfit, to clarify, is not to say he was a bad fit on the team but rather to say that he was physically less than the version of himself in Seattle.

He showed up to OTAs this year, however, like a man on a strict New Year’s Resolution diet of no bad fats, carbs or alcohol diet, and came out looking five years younger than his 2022 self and a physically toned up one at that.

Does that mean that his physical transformation means he will automatically see the field better, be on closer pages with his receivers, and overrule kickers who claim they can hit a 64-yard field goal on the road? Not necessarily, but it does give him the physical frame he once had to create with his feet, and it also indicates that he is taking his failings this past season seriously. If he can alter his physical stature that much, what’s to say he can’t also alter his level of play under a better direction?

Also of note from day one...

-Randy Gregory, Garrett Bolles, and Tim Patrick all got in reps today, thus indicating that their injuries are mostly recovered.

-Russell Wilson did not specify his weight loss total but described himself as “lean and mean”, so whoever of you had May 25 as the first corny catchphrase comment uttered by Wilson, please collect.

-Jerry Jeudy reportedly made a beautiful deep ball reception from Wilson but would later be dinged up (though nothing serious). That is equally encouraging and concerning for the talented, but oft-injured receiver.

-Sean Payton mentioned that part of the motive behind releasing Brandon McManus was financial, so look for the team to add another body or two in the near future.

-The NFL Network’s James Palmer, who has been around the Broncos for some time, says this OTAs feels different from those previous

Broncos/NFL News

‘I want to be the best version of me’: QB Russell Wilson holds himself to high standard as Broncos OTAs begin
“You always want to be in the best shape of your life,” Wilson said. “I’m ready for that. I feel better than ever.”

Javonte Williams practices in limited capacity at Broncos OTAs
Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury during an Oct. 2 game against the Raiders.

Photos: A look inside the Broncos' first week of 2023 OTA practices
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