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Sean Payton: ‘plenty to clean up’ after MNF win

Now is not the time to start coasting.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos are still alive, but we aren’t exactly top of the playoff picture. Being at his point is intense, and it makes it impossible to get comfortable. That’s a good thing, though; no one should feel comfortable right now.

This is the mentality that Sean Payton will be carrying into the weeks ahead. Three games in a row have been victories, but that just means they can start fine-tuning everything.

“There’s plenty to clean up. We just watched the tape,” Payton shared, “You know, you get frustrated sometimes. You get frustrated with yourself because, ‘Did I not cover this well enough? Are we on the same page? Do we need to cover this more?’”

The head coach went on to explain that wins happen during the workweek, not simply on the weekends. “When we practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday—and Saturday’s practice this week will be a little longer—that’s where you win the game. That’s where your preparation matters, so that when the game comes, you’ve covered it.”

Still, there is time and reason to celebrate what the Denver Broncos have just accomplished. Payton has been reflecting fondly on the game — like the defensive takeaways and QB Russell Wilson’s “improbable completion” to Courtland Sutton — as well as the direction this team is going, noting their resilience and belief in the same goal.

“When you talk about culture or environment relative to a team sport, it starts with the ingredients,” he admitted, “I felt like for the most part, we had guys that there was a high buy-in factor as to what we were doing, have to have honest conversations when you’re correcting, and honest conversations regarding the approach relative to us teaching.”

According to Payton, confidence is something you earn. Without achievement, it doesn’t exist. Explaining his philosophy, he stated, “Confidence is only born out of demonstrated ability. You can’t say, ‘I’m confident,’ or, ‘I want to be confident.’ You have to achieve something, and then there’s confidence in that you can do it again.”

“It’s finding the right group of players and then you have to roll up your sleeves a little bit in this league,” he continued.

So, has the team found their identity? Has it changed from what it was a month ago? Payton isn’t sure about that; in fact, he doesn’t give a lot of thought to that concept. “I don’t stop and think and say, ‘You know what, I think our identity today is—.’ I mean, let’s hope we continue to take the ball away.”

Payton added that he wants to see the team more efficient in the run game than they were Monday night. They made it happen, but they didn’t glean the maximum yardage. What he does know is the areas they looked good in, and he outlined those for the press.

“Physical at the line of scrimmage, and then defensively, defending the run is one of the keys that helped us flip the script,” he highlighted, “Last night, obviously in the second half, we began to see more handoffs with some success. But the line of scrimmage play and the turnover battle is something we’re emphasizing.”

Tune in this Sunday on primetime for a home game this time. We’ll be visited by the 6-4 Vikings, with QB Joshua Dobbs at the helm, and I’m interested to see how it plays out. Until then, congratulations to the Broncos on another victory!