The Denver Broncos underachieved last season. They reside in what might be the NFL’s most grueling division in the AFC West. They have invested a lot of money in being a good football team right now. It goes without saying the 2023-24 season will be a crucial one. Their road will be a lot tougher if new head coach Sean Payton cannot get the most out of Russell Wilson
There is concern around the league that the Super Bowl-winning quarterback cannot be “salvaged,” according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Multiple league officials said that, while on the Seattle Seahawks, he would insist on a more pass-oriented offense rather than plays that required him to roll outside the pocket and run more. Essentially, Wilson wanted more control over the offense he was leading, which had been rumored and speculated throughout his last years in Seattle.
Wilson has always been an efficient passer, but he made a name for himself with his legs early in his career. He tallied over 400 rushing yards in each of his first four seasons (career-high 849 in 2014), but has been below that mark in four of the last five. That could just be the natural precautions a QB in his 30s takes, especially when he has battled his own lower body injuries in the past. Still, few could deny how effective his versatility made the Seahawks offense. Payton will likely want to tap into it.
A potential coach and quarterback clash would obviously be disastrous for the Broncos. Payton’s reputation as a decision-maker and leader does not indicate that he would take kindly to having his instructions dismissed. After all, he was brought into to fix the team’s stagnant offense. And much of that has to do with maximizing Wilson’s productivity following the worst statistical season of his career (37.0 QB Rating).
Sometimes, people just need a change of scenery. Wilson’s dissatisfaction with the play-calling in Seattle does not have to carry over into Denver. Him and Payton can prove the skeptics wrong and restore some excitement to Mile High Stadium.
Should it not work out, though, fans are unlikely to go easy on the $240 million quarterback who was rumored to be “difficult.”