Brent Stanton and Essendon's senior players have taken responsibility for speeding up the progress of their young teammates, to help cover for the senior experience lost in the off-season.
The Bombers made only a handful of changes in the post-season period but shed some of their depth, with Stewart Crameri and Scott Gumbleton traded, Alwyn Davey delisted and David Hille and Nathan Lovett-Murray retiring.
Stanton, a new father, stayed in Melbourne with a mostly young group of Bombers as the majority of his teammates trained in Colorado this month.
Having worked closely on his leadership skills with Neil Craig, Essendon's new head of coaching development and strategy, Stanton said he had enjoyed the opportunity to work with the young players.
''We've got the coaches to be able to help them get their football to the level we need them to be at, and I've got no doubt the senior players are out there helping them again,'' Stanton said.
''The quicker we can fast-track them in terms of helping them to learn the game and get their bodies adapted to playing AFL football week in, week out, I think that's going to cover the people we unfortunately lost.
''We're trying to become better vocally on the field so that we don't have to rely on the coaches at quarter time … I think it's a whole group thing.
''I've got no doubt that's why the selection panel brought [Craig] to the club and that's why [senior coach Mark] 'Bomber' Thompson is working so closely with him, to be able to create that environment … of real leadership, and taking ownership of your own career.
''The most important thing about this football club is we've got fantastic young kids who are willing to learn and willing to work hard. I think that's a good recipe to be able to succeed.
''You always look for improvement … whether that's games you win or personal development. I certainly believe this group is going to improve pretty quickly in terms of the staff we've got around us and the drive that we've got.''
The 25 players who travelled to Colorado trained with the full squad on Wednesday, with the exception of Brendon Goddard, who flew home early from the US with a minor calf injury.
Dyson Heppell's younger brother, Aaron, 18, was also at the club, having signed on to play with Essendon's VFL side next year after being overlooked in the national and rookie drafts.
Essendon has been confronted in the past week with renewed talk of potential anti-doping charges for the club's supplements program, and Stanton said the players would ''deal with whatever comes our way when it happens''.
''We're not too worried about it at the moment, we're training and getting prepared for a new season,'' he said. ''It's an ongoing process and we'll respect that, that's all I can really say.''