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Sean Payton happy to see several key defensive starters return

The Broncos are readying up to face the Jets, and New York’s capable defense will be cause for a showdown.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week 5! The Denver Broncos are 4th in the AFC West, which is about as depressing as it gets after starting 0-3 and then scraping out a close win against another 0-3 team. But hey, it’s a new week, new chance for greatness, and we have a win under our belt.

Speaking of the Chicago Bears — congratulations to them for their breaking their victory drought on Thursday with such an awesome contest against Washington. I said in a post last week that I’ve got a soft spot for them, so this win made me extremely happy.

Back to business, though: tomorrow afternoon, The 1-3 New York Jets will arrive at Empower Stadium with the same standing as the Broncos. We may seemingly have another even matchup, but our offense will need to rise to the occasion of their capable secondary if a win’s going to happen.

Asked directly about CB Sauce Gardner, a particular weapon on the Jets’ secondary, Payton praised him highly and even made a reference to Denver CB Patrick Surtain II.

“Well, I would say—I’m not making the comparison, but I’m going to give you traits that Pat has,” he shared, “They’re long. They transition well. They can run. They’ve got good instincts.”

Payton went on to note both players’ length, athleticism, and confidence. “When those guys press and take away certain routes, those 50-50 balls become like 70-30....for him to come in his first year and play like he did, that’s hard to do.”

Asked whether Surtain has been helpful for the offense to practice with in anticipation of facing Gardner, Payton said “absolutely.”

“Yeah, absolutely. Then we kind of cover all the things in the game plan relative to when, where, and where he’s at. Typically, he’s to our right, but not always. All of that goes into it.”

The good news for us is that some of our own key secondary players are back from injury this week, including S Justin Simmons and ILB Josey Jewel. This should give us a defensive boost for obvious reasons, but we’ll just have to see if it translates to a win.

HC Sean Payton cautiously echoed this sentiment, likely not wanting to talk anything up too much.

“Any time you’re getting healthy in certain positions, it helps,” he said, “Each time there’s one player, you get a little bit stronger in that group. We look forward to those guys. In the next couple weeks, we feel like there will be a group coming back.”

What’s your prediction for Jets vs Broncos?