Some Broncos players weren’t thrilled with padded practice this week

Getty Images

The Broncos have, in some ways, become even more fascinating in the aftermath of the firing of coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Beyond the concerted effort to rally around quarterback Russell Wilson — an endeavor that seems rooted in making the team as attractive as possible to potential coaching candidates — interim coach Jerry Rosburg opted to have a padded practice. With two meaningless regular-season games left.

Rosburg explained to reporters on Thursday that he opted for a padded practice because, under the labor deal, the team had one more padded practice available this year. But the availability of a padded practice doesn’t mean the padded practice has to be used.

We’ve caught wind that some players — players who would prefer to emerge from final days of a lost season as healthy as possible — weren’t happy about it.

Why should they be? While playing in the final two games requires maximum effort and physical risk because film is film regardless of the game from which the film comes, players by the end of a given season are doing everything they can to hold their bodies together. A padded practice doesn’t help that effort.

And it’s not as if they’re going to magically rise up and overachieve in an effort to get Rosburg the permanent job. Everyone knows he was a distant Plan B after defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero wisely passed on the opportunity to captain a sunken, drunken ship for two games against a pair of playoff teams, the Chiefs and Chargers.

The bottom line is that the balance of the 2022 season should be all about ensuring that the flak-riddled plane crash lands as smoothly as it can, with minimal player injuries and minimal morale issues among a roster that is sure to be overhauled, as much as it possibly can be, in the coming months.

69 responses to “Some Broncos players weren’t thrilled with padded practice this week

  1. Poor take from a talking head. It’s ok for players to not be ok with a padded practice but to minimize it to essentially saying the team should just go thru the motions instead of doing something that could improve individual players is ridiculous

  2. The team quit against the Rams, I think the padded practice was a way to signal that that was not OK.

  3. The NFL is a worse product this year and in recent years because they don’t practice enough in pads. I don’t think this is even a debatable issue.

  4. Might be a message that they’ve had it too soft. Broncos fans are hoping the next coach makes them tougher. It’s ok to start mentality preparing for it now. Their bodies have many months to heal after next week.

  5. Maybe more padded practices earlier in the year would have helped? The lack of preseason and preseason hitting has led to an explosion of soft tissue injuries in the early part of the NFL season in recent years.

    At this point though, padded practice vs non-padded practice isn’t going to make a difference. I think Jerry just wants to show he’s trying to do something.

  6. They are paid a lot of money, padded practices should be mandatory for all teams, at least one per week

  7. Real players play to win. You and the poor padded players obviously just want to get paid. Pathetic stance from a so-called “team”.

  8. Grown men being told to do their job the way the boss wants it to be done and complaining about it. This is the profession you chose.

  9. Maybe I’ll show up to work on Monday and complain about having to do work that’s completely within the scope of my job description and see what happens. Spoiler alert:: I’ll get fired

  10. These embarrassments are getting paid more money than many Americans will see in their entire lives, and the absolute least they can do is do their pathetically easy jobs when it’s asked of them, without complaint.

    These guys have no perspective and absolutely nothing to complain about. Do your jobs and take your grotesquely excessive pay.

  11. Just follow the rules. I don’t know what’s so hard to understand. I could see if the coach was breaking rules and forcing players to do things that are illegal. That’s not it at all. The players hire union representatives to negotiate on their behalf. They set rules and guidelines. The teams honor the wishes of the players. If any players have issues, they take them to the people they hired. Generally, when you hear something like this it’s a slow media day or it’s someone trying to stir the pot. Usually, it’s a third string guy or a practice squad guy complaining. They make it sound like it’s a big deal, when it isn’t. It’s just an attempt by the media to bash the league. We see this time and time again. Whether it’s about salaries or stuff like this, it’s always something that should be directed toward the NFLPA, but instead they start ripping the teams or the league. But in the end, it’s always the league was following directions, and the player complaining wanted to break the rules and ignore the agreement that their own representatives bargained and fought for. And we wonder why Bill Belichick doesn’t answer silly questions.

  12. Make a list of players that complain so Paton can cut them all this off-season.

    Culture has to change drastically at Dove Valley!

  13. The hardest working Bronco, first ballot HOF QB Russell Wilson wants a lot more padded practices.

    He likes how he looks in the red QB jersey.

  14. “ defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero wisely passed on the opportunity to captain a sunken, drunken ship for two games against a pair of playoff teams, the Chiefs and Chargers.”

    Coaching vacancies come open in the middle of the year usually because a team is horrible. When Jeff Saturday got hired, all I heard was how horrible it was because a minority coach didn’t even get a chance to prove himself as a head coach and what a lost opportunity it was for minority coaches.

    And now when a minority assistant coach gets a similar opportunity to be an interim head coach, you say that it’s “wise” that he passes on it? There is literally no appeasing the race baiting critics out there. It’s a constant movement of the goal posts to ensure that everyone continue to focus on the color of our skin. Horrible.

  15. What a joke. Try getting a real job and then whine about a padded practice. Soft as butter entilted babies.

  16. Beatings will continue until morale improves. Yeah that always works. Many of these players will be traded this off season. Having a padded practice increases the chance of an injury that could erase their trade value. It was a stupid move. I predict a 35 point blow out in KC and a 21 point blow out to LA.

  17. These circumstances couldn’t of happened to a better team and fan base. I love it. Enjoy the next three years of total irrelevance. Look on the bright side though. You will have a top 3 pick in next years draft. Oops, never mind.

  18. Agree with make a list of the players who are complaining & get rid of them. Heck bench them for the last 2 games. Season is toast anyway so what’s to lose? Denver fan who has watched this train wreck as a 25 yr fan. Way too soft & way too selfish. All of a sudden our #1 WR decides to show up. Out other WR is hurt all the time. About the only players who show up everyday is Simmons, Surtain, Murray and a few others. The rest not so much.

  19. What has happen to the work ethic of these under 30 yo players? You get paid tons of money for this job, not to mention you are performers for the fan’s ENTERTAINMENT. I hope he uses the other one too.

  20. I’m a little surprised that after Evero declined to be the interim HC that he wasn’t fired. Having a coordinator who lacks that confidence either in himself or the team can’t be a healthy situation. It’d be like he’s sitting on the sidelines just waiting for the interim HC to fail and be able to say, “I told you so.” He has to go now and not when they get a new HC.

  21. Whether they should or should not be in pads is inconsequential. To me, the bigger issue for Denver is the weekly demonstration of the poisonous culture in that locker room and in the front office. Grousing about pads, fighting on sidelines, quitting on the field, sniping at teammates…it just goes on and on. Broncos have a lot of work to do to find real leaders willing to excise cancers.

  22. It is odd that nowhere in any of their contracts does it state that once eliminated from the playoffs that you get to work less hard. For any player to whine is to prove they are unfit for the team and should be offloaded before the start of next season’s personnel moves.

  23. I don’t think an argument for tanking was in the last CBA. You are paid to go to work within the framework of the CBA. All the fans that bought tickets certainly expect an honest effort to win. The players that whine about one padded practice are the players the team needs to dump.

  24. WOW! They get paid millions of dollars to play a GAME, and are crying about having to wear pads in practice! Well I suppose this is what happens when athletes are treated like they are special, and actually matter more than they do. Let’s face it, it’s not like they are curing cancer or teaching the next generation of leaders. They should all be ashamed of themselves!

  25. Oh no! The new coach wants us to give a damn and actually do our jobs that we get paid millions of dollars to do! Time to start cutting players. And I mean now. Let the hungry guys on special teams play some first string snaps. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, you lose another game? If any “leaders” on the team complain, I make them a healthy scratch and make them watch the game from the sidelines. And I put word out that you want true leaders on this team. And no, that won’t scare away free agents. Why? Because…money.

  26. easy for all us normal guys sitting at home to act tough but it’s not your livelihood and families on the line. Plus a lot of these guys really don’t make much money over an avg very short career. Players’ coaches succeed in the long run at this level

  27. Wow. Bummer. I had to bundle up and shovel snow this week. I wasn’t thrilled with that either.

  28. Wow, I’m kind of surprised you have such a wimpy take on this to defend players unhappy about having to actually wear pads in practice.

    Hacket sounds like he coached this team like he “coached” Rodgers: with minimal resistance, because Rodgers didn’t want to practice hard so he figured I’ll coach an entire team like that. Well, that didn’t work at all.

    Frankly, this interim coach sounds exactly like the kind of guy this soft team needed

  29. We can’t compare our jobs to the NFL. First off, you folks act like normal people don’t gripe about aspects of their job while still overall enjoying it.

    Also, nobody is going to paint their face or sit in a freezing parking lot for hours getting ready to hear you make a sales pitch, so seriously stop that nonsense.

    You may feel empowered but you look silly.

  30. Modern football players are big, strong, fast and in great shape. They’re also HUGE wimps.

  31. If the Chiefs jump out to an early big lead, which I suspect they will at home, it will be interesting to see how the Broncos respond. If the Broncos are down by 2 TD’s at halftime I suspect the second half will be a total sh!tshow and it could get ugly by the 4th quarter.

  32. It’s funny seeing all these people call these players lazy and entitled when they’ve spent the last 4 months destroying their bodies for the entertainment of us. There’s two weeks left in the season in the Broncos are not going to the playoffs why put these players at risk of injury for two meaningless games? Yes padded practices are good at the beginning of the season but when you’re two games away from the end of the season why risk extra injuries

  33. Well deserved to have a padded practice. Last week’s game was more or less a walk through practice for them.

  34. This team flat out quit against the rams. Zero heart. The coach was fired due to poor leadership. Rightly so. It’s clear that some of these players need the same treatment. I realize you can’t fire 53 players, but a few of them who have high dollar contracts could stand to have examples made out of them. What an embarrassment. If I was a paying broncos fan I’d be choked.

  35. It’s amazing how frequently the idiots who frequent this site need reality checks. Many of you are fans in position preparing for your team’s offeseason. What would you say if your best player gets injured doing something on the field that’s not necessary, like practicing in pads this time of year? It’s okay with you? They had it coming because of a previous poor effort? Your starting LT tore his ACL in week 16 practice and your ok because “injuries happen?”

    Yeah right! You’re freaking the f out because you just finished a 4 win season and are now starting the following season behind the 8 ball so your coaching staff could send a message. Ha! If the effort sucks this time of year, ya cut the problem loose, it’s not complicated.

  36. Having played organized football I walked away from the article with several thoughts (1) If you are winning then a padded practice may not be necessary (although winners invariably practice harder than anyone else). (2) The whiners are usually the guys NOT doing their jobs well and not taking practice seriously.

    And based on the Broncos 2022 record NO ONE on that team has earned the right to complain about having to practice harder.

    As they say in the military ‘A gallon of sweat saves a pint of blood.’

  37. I agree with the players. If this were in the first half of the season, then I would agree with padded practices. But this is near the end of the season when everyone is already beat up. Obviously, the players need to give 100% at game time, but to risk getting injured in practice this late in the season make no sense, especially since the season is over.

    They’re not going to beat Kansas City or the Chargers, so why the extra practice? Punishment?

  38. A padded practice doesn’t mean that it was physical. It means they wore pads. The way the Broncos played versus the Rams, the coach may have been looking to remind them that they are professional football players. The explanation that they had one more available padded practice per the NFLPA agreement, simply, may have meant that the press doesn’t require an explanation. The players clearly “quit” on the previous coach. Complaining players are to be expected, regardless as to what the practice schedule looks like.

  39. Isn’t a padded practice a means to playing better in the game itself? Should they just forgo all practices because the aren’t going to the playoffs? I’m aware that video of Herm Edwards is now a meme but it is the absolute truth. Every game in the NFL means something. And I’m sure the Denver KC game means a lot to Buffalo. You play to win the game and padded practices give you the best chances. Is pride a thing of the past?

  40. Hmm, too many chiefs and not enough broncos. One
    of the many things Coach Hackett obviously failed to understand was the lack of accountability you create in your work environment will come back to bite you and bite you hard.

  41. Fans are still paying right? Players are still getting salaries? Not sure why these guys feel entitled to coast the rest of the season. If this is what you are made of, it will also show up when the games are on the line.

  42. Maybe they should reflect on their performance and record thus far this season. Maybe that sense of entitlement and Ben g upset at actually having to do work is why they are where they are.

  43. Football has come a long way from “three a day” preseason practices some teams utilized in the 70’s.
    Players seem to look at practice as an intrusion. Just look at what passes for tackling in modern football.

  44. Of course a padded practice means that it’s physical. It’s not a fashion show. They wear the pads so that they can hit each other and simulate a real game.

  45. Football coaching 101: if players don’t want to be in pads on gameday (which is obvious they didn’t, they quit), then they’re going to be in pads in practice. Luckily for them, the NFL doesn’t let coaches put them in pads as much as this coach probably wants to.

  46. Practicing in pads is a non issue. They’ve obviously practiced plenty in pads they were only allowed one more. The issue all year has been the dramatic drop off of Russell Wilson. That has been the main problem

  47. Jerry Rosburg is an old pro who knows what a winning culture looks like. Just because you are an interim coach doesn’t mean you start not caring about doing the right thing to establish that culture.

  48. Good for coach Rosberg. These players are paid to play 17 games and the padded practice was within the rules of the CBA. It was to remind the players that playing half speed is not an option. They had it easy with “laid back” Hackett and that’s one reason they stink. Have pride and play every snap like it’s your last regardless of the team’s record.

  49. The entire NFL is soft. There really isn’t a preseason anymore. There hasn’t been since the 2011 labor deal. That’s about when teams stopped playing starters completely. There were many fewer padded practices. How the hell do you have a football practice without pads? It’s a joke. The product usually sucks until mid season when the guys are used to getting hit. Welcome to the new NFL. If the interim coach ever wants to be a head coach, he should drop the hammer and do everything he can within the rules to win. Padded practice. Drills. New plays. Passionate speeches. Shake starters up. Say that building a culture of winning starts now. If he doesn’t get the job, he may get one somewhere else and may help launch other players’ careers.

  50. It feels a little like bowl season in the NFL lately with players being shut down early, benched to avoid 2023 guarantees, etc. glad someone in Denver decided not to pack it in yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.