“We have to be better. I have to be better.” Payton lamented after his team's 35-33 loss to the Washington Commanders, per 9News' Mike Klis. The loss comes one week after the Broncos dropped their season opener by one point, 17-16 versus the Las Vegas Raiders.
In particular, getting the play communicated seemed to be a problem for Wilson and the offense, according to Payton.
“There were a number of drives where we were late with personnel, getting out of the huddle we took a while. That has to change. We had to burn timeouts in the 1st half and I’m not used to that.”
Payton then singled out his quarterback for some of the communication issues. “Russ has to be sharper with getting the play out, and then we have to look at how much we have in. If we need to wristband it, we will.”
Facing such public criticism is a new experience for Wilson. Throughout his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll faced accusations of coddling the franchise quarterback. Carroll's rumored reluctance to criticize Wilson in front of the team caused friction between Wilson and some members of Seattle's vaunted defense.
This criticism is also a bit rich coming from Sean Payton. After all, before coaching a single game with the Broncos he sharply criticized his predecessor Nathaniel Hackett. He called Hackett's lone season in charge in Denver “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.”
Now, Payton is dealing with such challenges as getting the right players on the field in time and calling a play. Hackett might be somewhere smiling, if he didn't have to watch Zach Wilson start at quarterback for the Jets on Sunday instead of Aaron Rodgers, that is.