New Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton made sure to send a message to his team — and his quarterback — on the first days of OTAs.
The Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton to right the ship after a disastrous season. The Broncos traded three players and five picks to acquire Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson last March. The result? Five wins, 12 losses, and some of the worst vibes imaginable around a franchise that hasn’t done anything significant in years.
Payton certainly has the résumé to back up his reputation. He won the Super Bowl with New Orleans in 2010 and was famous for his strong working relationship with Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. Now, Payton has the opportunity to mold the offense around Russell Wilson.
Ahead of training camp, Payton made sure to send a strong message to his team — and his quarterback.
Sean Payton lets Broncos know roles will be earned, not given
Payton is an authoritative voice who is willing to challenge his players and check egos. He is already making one thing clear at Broncos OTAs: everyone must earn their spot.
“How they got here at this point is of no importance to us,” Payton told ESPN. The plan is for players to prove their mettle in camp. Just because a player has had success in the past — or has a good relationship with the quarterback — doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a spot on the field.
Last season was rather abysmal for Russell Wilson. He tossed 16 touchdowns in 15 games — the lowest mark of his career. He also set career highs in interception percentage and sacks taken, while setting a new career low in completion percentage (60.5).
Wilson notoriously operated with a sense of control and self-importance within the Broncos organization last year. Payton is here to put an end to that. It should be beneficial for all parties involved. The Broncos need to win more games, Wilson needs to get back on track, and Payton is out to prove that he can still coach at the highest level.
In theory, Russ is capable of magnificent, Super Bowl-winning seasons. He has some mileage on his body, but the 34-year-old can still move his feet and sling the pigskin. We’ve seen plenty of quarterbacks older than Wilson experience extended success in the postseason. The Broncos are hoping Payton can unlock that level of production in Wilson and the rest of his teammates after last season’s dumpster fire.