Sean Payton is ready to turn the page on the Denver Broncos’ disappointing 2022. Before the veteran coach looks ahead to his first season in the Mile High City, though, Payton was asked to reflect on Russell Wilson’s surprisingly lackluster debut with the Broncos.
“It was hard film to watch,” he said Monday from the NFL’s annual meeting in Phoenix, per Mike Klis of 9News Denver.
In early February, Denver traded its 2023 first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2024 to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Payton and a 2024 third-rounder. The Super Bowl-winning coach had spent the last two seasons out of football after a 15-year run with New Orleans.
A noted quarterback guru, Payton is tasked with helping Wilson rebound from easily the worst season of his stellar NFL career. The nine-time Pro Bowler threw for 3,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing just 60.5% of his passes. Most indicative of Wilson’s struggles? Denver averaged only 16.9 points per game, dead last in the league.
Despite Wilson’s labors last season, though, Payton seems optimistic the future Hall-of-Famer will get back on track going forward, appealing to his leadership traits and the pair’s longstanding working relationship.
“He’s super competitive. He’s won at a high level,” Payton said of Wilson, per Chad Jensen of Mile High Huddle. “He’s someone that I think moves well. He’s someone that I think works extremely hard. It’s hard to find guys with all those traits.
“I’ve worked with Russell,” he continued. “I was at the Pro Bowl in Florida years ago and coached him. Shoot, we’ve played two or three different playoff games against him. I was very familiar with him.”
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