Some around NFL doubt Sean Payton can fix Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson

While there is hope among the Denver Broncos organization that incoming head coach Sean Payton can fix the issues in Russell Wilson’s game, others around the league have their doubts.

Year one for Wilson in Denver was an absolute disaster. The 5-12 team had one of the worst offenses in the league and Wilson took the brunt of frustration from Broncos fans as the nine-time Pro Bowler posted some of the worst stats of his career in several key categories. Making matters worse is that the team is invested in the 34-year-old long-term after handing him a massive five-year, $242 million contract after trading for him last spring.

That is why, following head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s dismissal, it was a top priority for the next Denver Broncos head coach to be someone that could return Wilson to the level of success he enjoyed during a legendary run with the Seattle Seahawks.

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Earlier this week, the Broncos came to terms on a trade with the New Orleans Saints for the rights to make Sean Payton their next head coach. While that was cause for celebration for many, some around the league aren’t isn’t sold on it being a guarantee that the Super Bowl-winning coach can bring the best out of Russell Wilson.

Sean Payton will have to find a way to blend Russell Wilson’s preferences and Denver Broncos hopes

sean payton, russell wilson

On Friday, The Athletic’s NFL insider Jeff Howe gave a rundown of various news and notes from around the Senior Bowl. As talent evaluators from the sport mingled and spoke about key topics around the league. One conversation was on if Payton can cure the ills of Wilson and the Denver Broncos offense.

However, for as great an offensive mind as the 59-year-old is, Howe claims there are some who are skeptical if Payton can make the quarterback switch away from his preferred style of play, to one that better fits his skillset.

“There’s skepticism Wilson can be salvaged by new Broncos head coach Sean Payton. According to multiple league officials, in recent years with the Seahawks and Broncos, Wilson wanted too much say in the offense, preferring a pocket-passing scheme similar to Tom Brady’s and Aaron Rodgers’ rather than one that highlighted his mobility.

“… Wilson’s contentions raised red flags, officials said. His greatest quality is his deep ball, and Wilson wanted to push the ball downfield too frequently, particularly on early downs when short passes underneath the coverage can be viewed as a more valuable play.”

– Report on Russell Wilson

It is surprising for a player to move away from what made them successful. However it is understandable for a QB heading into the back end of their 30s, and with 10-plus years of wear-and-tear to prefer to run less and take fewer hits.

Sources also told Howe that, “If Wilson wants to get back on track, the belief is that he’ll need to be open to a run-heavy offense with read-option traits and taking what the defense gives him.”

The question now is, is that the style Sean Payton — who helped Drew Brees put up monumental pass numbers in New Orleans — wants to run. That remains to be seen.

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