Sean Payton’s ‘old-school’ offseason plan, and why Mike McGlinchey loves it

May 26, 2023, 8:01 PM | Updated: 8:02 pm

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Until now, Mike McGlinchey only knew one other NFL head coach’s way: the Kyle Shanahan Way. And to be certain, that was a successful methodology. Three of McGlinchey’s five San Francisco 49ers saw the team advance to at least the NFC Championship Game.

But with Sean Payton, things are a bit different. The roots of Payton’s scheme are similar, but as McGlinchey absorbs the scheme, he finds himself deep in translating what he knows to what he’ll learn.

“It’s based in the old historic West Coast stuff, and the outside zone and the stretch game,” McGlinchey explained. “It’s kind of funny; it feels a little like I’m in Rosetta Stone right now, just with the translations and different words and different calls.

“But there’s only so many things you can do when there’s 11 guys on the field. Until they change that rule, football’s pretty much the same, regardless of what it’s called. So, there’s a lot of similarities.”

But one thing that has been different is how Payton has handled the offseason to date. As he noted Thursday, the Broncos spent the first five weeks of organized team activities “lifting and running.”

“It’s old-school,” McGlinchey said.

But it served a point. And for professionals well-versed in the sport, McGlinchey believes the back-to-basics approach was the correct one.

“All of us have seen it enough where this time of the year should be dedicated to strength and conditioning and becoming a better athlete and using this downtime to grow yourself, to prepare yourself for training camp and let football take over then,” he said.

Given the Broncos’ high injury rate in recent years, a change to the early-offseason emphasis couldn’t hurt. But it also helps on the mental side — as well as to team-building.

“I think it’s huge as a player to get that confidence, because it all builds from the weight room,” McGlinchey said. “Everything starts there.

“And I think the confidence that that builds, getting in shape and getting stronger and having that allotted time to make sure that’s in the right place, I think is an incredibly valuable part as a player, and something that I think can be overlooked a lot in this league.”

Mastering the scheme will take care of itself over time — beginning with the Phase 3 work that commenced Tuesday. But focusing on strength and conditioning for a month before diving into the playbook could pay long-term dividends.

“You’re going to have 10-ish opportunities to get a full install from here until the end of August,” McGlinchey said. “So, you’re going to see the playbook over and over and over again, but you don’t get that time to be polishing yourself in the weight room or in the field work or running or getting in conditioning.

“And I think I’ve really appreciated Sean’s take on that.”



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Sean Payton’s ‘old-school’ offseason plan, and why Mike McGlinchey loves it