One former Sean Payton quarterback went on record to predict Russell Wilson's future.
Now that the Denver Broncos have landed their new head coach Sean Payton, fans will focus on the question that plagued them over the entirety of the 2022 season: what is going on with Russell Wilson?
After trading away ample capital last offseason to acquire the former All-Pro quarterback, Wilson turned in the worst season of his career to date. While there is plenty of blame and reasons for the veteran QB’s low level of play last year — from scheme, coaches, and injuries — Wilson himself also deserves a good portion of the blame.
As he said many times in his post-game press conferences last year, “I need to play better.”
Is Wilson broken? And can he be fixed?
While opinions on this matter will dominate a large portion of the offseason, only time will tell what impact Payton will have on revitalizing Wilson during his second year as the quarterback in Denver.
One person who appears exceedingly confident that Payton could fix Wilson is long-time Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS Sports announcer Tony Romo. Romo is a student of the game and worked under the Broncos' new head coach in Dallas from 2003-05 when Payton was the Cowboy’s QBs coach under Bill Parcells.
Romo was just entering the league. It also probably didn’t hurt that both played quarterback for Eastern Illinois.
In a recent interview with Zach Gleb on his show, Romo stated that Payton's ability to “adapt and understand the player and put them in the best position possible," Payton can ‘fix’ Russ going forward because “Sean has done that well for a long-time.”
Romo expanded his stance, stating that Payton will come to Denver and simplify the game for his quarterback, making things easier for Wilson in 2023. For a quarterback who looked confused over large swaths of last season, simplifying the offense, thereby boosting his confidence, seems like an excellent strategy for Payton.
However, for those concerned that Payton would come in and copy and paste the offense that he and Brees ran during the duo’s later seasons together, a style that might not best fit Wilson, fret not. Romo predicted that Payton is “going to come in and fit this offense to (Wilson).”
"He’s not going to try to take his offense from New Orleans and bring it (to Denver). He’s going to take parts of it, and he’s going to see what Russ does well, then he’s going to work in some things from Seattle, plus what he did last year, and look at the trends in the league this year, and I think we’ll find that he’ll turn that around pretty quickly."
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With how versatile Payton has been in his schemes and maximizing his personnel during his time in New Orleans, Romo predicts that he will use the entire catalog of Wilson’s career and match it to what the coach likes to execute offensively:
Things might be challenging for Wilson because Payton will demand a lot from him and everyone else in the organization.
“Russ is going to have to do things correctly because Sean is going to hold everyone accountable. He’s going to walk in there on day one and say, ‘everyone is starting over from scratch. We’re evaluating everyone, from coaches to players…’ and he’s going to go in there and find out who’s willing to put the time in and who’s willing to commit.”
Romo may be biased toward Payton, given the two’s relationship in the former QB's first years in the NFL. Payton obviously likes Romo as well, given that he attempted to trade for Romo when he was in New Orleans.
But just because Romo might be biased doesn’t mean he is wrong. If anyone can fix Wilson and simultaneously repair the Broncos, it might be Payton.
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