Sean Payton is said to be implementing a special plan for Russell Wilson and other Broncos players

For the second time in this century, a major culture shift is taking place within the Broncos organization. Like Peyton Manning over a decade earlier, Sean Payton arrives in Denver hoping to help the Broncos return to their championship.

Payton, the 20th head coach in Broncos history, has set his sights on becoming the third Denver coach to lead the franchise to a Super Bowl victory. To that end, Payton intends to establish a firmer, harder culture that will no doubt weed out those players who don’t fit into that culture.

“There’s an element of discipline,” Payton said, via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “There’s an element of toughness, and look, it’s not for everyone.”

Payton’s resume suggests he knows a thing or two about building a championship culture. In 2006, he took over a perpetually bad Saints team and immediately led it to an NFC title game. Payton did so after convincing then-free-agent quarterback Drew Brees to come to New Orleans instead of Miami, who was also courting him.

Payton and Brees made history by helping bring the first Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans at the end of the 2009 season. They became one of the most prolific and successful coach-quarterback duos in league history during their decade-and-a-half run with the Saints.

When asked about his new quarterback, veteran Russell Wilson, Payton was heartened at how Wilson ended his first season in Denver. Payton said that Wilson’s six touchdowns in the last two games of the season are “a little bit more of what we expected, which is what we’ve grown accustomed to.”

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While Payton believes there is still good football at Wilson, he has alluded to changes regarding Wilson’s day-to-day operations within the team’s facility. Payton ended the notion of Wilson — or any player — working with coaches and other coaches unaffiliated with the team’s staff.

“I’m not too familiar with that,” Payton said. “That’s alien to me. That’s not going to happen… Our staff will be here, our players will be here and that’s going to be it.”

Wilson probably liked something more about what Payton said about the offense’s future. Rather than being married to a specific system, Payton wants Wilson to have the opportunity to do the things that made him a consistent Pro Bowl player during his run with Seattle. That likely means adjusting the staffing and offensive scheme to suit the quarterback’s strengths and weaknesses.

“None of us wants to be in a karaoke bar with a song that we don’t know the words to,” Payton said in reference to Wilson and the offense.

While perhaps not intended as a dig at Nathaniel Hackett, Payton’s comments about in-game clock management have already been doing the rounds on social media as a perceived dig at the man Payton is replacing. Payton was specifically asked what he has learned over the years in relation to clock management, which was one area of ​​Hackett’s work notoriously struggling.

“I don’t expect the crowd to have to count down the 30-second clock,” Payton said.

Payton, who signed a five-year contract with the Broncos, said feeling burned out, the COVID-19 pandemic and health were among the top reasons he took a year off from coaching. Now that he’s back in coaching, Payton said he can see himself emulating his old mentor, Bill Parcells, as someone who’s built a legacy with multiple franchises.

Speaking of legacy, Payton aspires to do something that Parcells came close to but failed to achieve during his Hall of Fame career.

“No coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams,” he said. via Mike Klis of 9News. “Here we are in 2023; it has never happened. A few coaches have gone to Super Bowls with two teams… but nobody has won a Super Bowl with two different teams. I like things like that.”

When that happens, Payton will bridge the gap between the Broncos’ last championship era, an era that led Manning, the first quarterback to lead multiple teams to Super Bowl glory. Sean Payton is said to be implementing a special plan for Russell Wilson and other Broncos players

Chris Estrada

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