The Denver Broncos have reason to be optimistic in 2023 after trading for Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton. He is challenged with fixing quarterback Russell Wilson, who had the worst season of his NFL career in 2022.
The Broncos sent the Seattle Seahawks two first-round picks, two second-round picks, one fifth-round pick and three players in exchange for Wilson last offseason, but he did not immediately elevate Denver's offense. Wilson posted just the second losing record of his career at 4-11, while setting career-worsts in completion percentage (60.5%), passing touchdowns (16) and passer rating (84.4). How will Payton get Wilson back on the right track? In a recent ESPN piece, Payton told Wilson he needs to focus less on "Russell Inc."
"Will you f---ing stop kissing all the babies?" Payton said. "You're not running for public office."
According to reports, Wilson didn't exactly operate as your standard starting quarterback during his first season with Denver. Back in February, The Athletic reported that Wilson brought in a whole support staff apart from team employees. Wilson also reportedly had a workspace on a floor where players rarely were. An office where he had an "open-door policy" as if he were a coach.
Things are going to be different with Payton in charge, and he has a reputation for getting the most out of his quarterbacks. Drew Brees of course led the New Orleans Saints to a championship, Jameis Winston went 5-2 as the starter before suffering a torn ACL in 2021 and Teddy Bridgewater went 5-0 in his five starts for the Saints in 2019. With a player like Wilson, it's possible the Broncos could return to contending this year.