Nearly a quarter of the NFL season is in the books, and you can’t help but wonder about some of the people and decisions that have dominated the headlines to this point. One major storyline entering the season was Sean Payton taking over and potentially turning Denver around. Thus far, the team has been worse under coach Payton than his predecessor, Nathaniel Hackett. Not having a win under his belt after three weeks has to be eating at Payton, especially after some of the shots he threw at Hackett prior to the regular season.
Three games into the season, Payton is already getting snippy with reporters. Although it was immediately after they’d been trampled by Miami, 70-20, Payton had no patience for media members. In all the talk surrounding last year’s Broncos led by Hackett and how bad they were, it seems everyone has forgotten that they began the year 2-1. The 2022 Broncos lost their opener to the Seahawks by one point, then came back to win the next two games over Houston and San Francisco before falling off a cliff.
It wasn’t a dominant 2-1 start last season, but it wasn’t 0-3 either. No one would suggest Hackett is anywhere near the coach Payton is, but the latter sure had a lot to say regarding the job the former did in less than one full season. Payton was supposed to be the genius to come in and turn this ship around for Denver.
You can’t help but think about what could’ve been for Payton had he waited a little longer before making his return. While the Chargers finally won a game last week, there’s no guarantee Brandon Staley will be around past this year. Payton had been tied to the Chargers before agreeing to coach the Broncos.
Had Payton been more patient and sat out one more campaign, he may have been able to get his coaching hands on a young Justin Herbert not even five years into his career. Instead, it looks like he settled for a past his prime quarterback in Russell Wilson, who isn’t near what he once was during his glory days in Seattle.
If Denver loses to Chicago in Week 4, Payton may want to go hide in a cave with Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the 2023 season. Russell Wilson’s legacy as a player was questioned after one horrible year in Denver. We’ll see what the blowback is for Payton if the Broncos can’t improve on last year’s record, which was 5-12.
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