Sean Payton Has A Message For Russell Wilson’s Personal QB Coach

New Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton is laying down the law about how his football team will be run. One order of business that Payton addressed when asked involved quarterback Russell Wilson having his personal QB coach Jake Heaps in the facility.

“I’m not too familiar with that,” Payton said when asked about Wilson having Heaps in the building with access this past season under one-and-done coach Nathaniel Hackett. “That’s foreign to me — that’s not going to take place. I’m unfamiliar with it. Our staff will be here, our players will be here and that will be that.”

Payton is coming in looking to change a team that’s lost at least 10 games in five of the past six NFL seasons. For a once-proud franchise that track record of failure is unacceptable, and Payton has been tasked with righting the ship out in the Rockies.

And you can bet Payton has been awarded tremendous power and decision-making authority, so it’s definitely his ship. Whereas Wilson said last season that he and Hackett were “partners,” Payton is drawing a clear line in the sand from day one and taking full responsibility for the failure and success of this franchise.

Can Sean Payton Fix Russell Wilson?

Payton’s first priority includes fixing Wilson, who’s regression was evident last season. Wilson and Hackett never seemed to mesh. Wilson had the worst season of his illustrious career, finishing with a career-low 16 touchdown passes while being sacked 55 times. With Wilson at the helm the Broncos offense scored a league-low 16.9 points per game. In a loaded AFC West with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and possibly Aaron Rodgers under center, that won’t cut it in 2023.

Known as an offensive and quarterback guru, Payton will cater an offense to fit Wilson’s skill set. With Hackett it was too much of what he did when he had Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and less of what made Russ successful in the Pacific Northwest. That’s why it never worked.

Payton let it be known how he plans to attack that and get Wilson back to Pro Bowl level.

“It wasn’t the type of season he wanted to have,” Payton said.

“I feel like the last couple of weeks, we saw a little bit more of maybe what we were expecting or accustomed to. … I think the No. 1 job for us as coaches in evaluating our players is deciding what are things that they do really well. … Then let’s try to put them in those positions. At least that’s the starting point, and I think that it is important to highlight their strengths and minimize maybe any weaknesses”

Payton Fixed Jameis Winston’s Pick Problems

Payton did just that with Jameis Winston in 2021, until a season-ending ACL injury threw Winston to the sidelines. At the time Winston had 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions, after throwing 30 picks his last season in Tampa. 

Since 2015 when Peyton Manning retired the Broncos have had 11 starting quarterbacks. Wilson is by far the best and most accomplished of that mostly below average group. But even he struggled in year one in the Mile High City. Now Payton will look to re-create the magic that Seahawks fans witnessed often when Wilson led that franchise to eight playoff appearances in his ten seasons.

Payton is a disciplinarian, but also known as a player’s coach, so the belief is he and Russ should mesh right away. For the sake of the dejected Broncos fan base one can only hope that is the case.

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