After sixteen seasons donning black and gold for the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton has officially traded those colors in for orange and blue, becoming the 20th head coach in Denver Broncos franchise history.
During his introductory press conference Monday morning at Dove Valley, Payton spoke from the heart, reflected on his years in New Orleans, and gave thanks to those who helped him throughout his coaching journey. But above all else, Payton's message about the future of football in the Mile High City and what this new opportunity means for him was one of optimism—with the bottom line simply this—it's time to start winning.
“I look forward to making you proud. I look forward to working with everyone in here and building that winning culture. It’s something that is not easy,” stated Payton.
Gridiron glory, like many things in life, is fleeting. One moment you are at the top, the next you are at the bottom. Fans across the country know that all too well. In the 7 years since the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, it seems as if everyone else and time had passed them by. But with Payton in the fold, the Broncos are poised to be revitalized and start competing at a high level immediately.
“Ultimately, that’s what it’s about. Hopefully today, we’ve won this day and hopefully, we win the draft. More importantly, it’s winning in the fall and building a championship that this city and most of you have had a chance to experience. We’ll go from there.”
In Payton, the Broncos are getting a head coach with a proven track record of putting up yards and scoring points. Year after year, season after season, Payton's offenses have been among the best in the National Football League. In over two and a half decades of coaching, he has solidified himself as one of the league's most impressive play callers, whose ability to adapt his scheme to his team's talent is matched by few.
That potential is a most welcome sight for Broncos fans who have been desperate to see a functioning offense for what seems like forever. Though that's easier said than done, resurrecting a stagnant Broncos offense is going to take time and careful planning, but given Payton’s historic an experience—those chances appear to be better than any time in recent memory.
In order for the Broncos to be at their best, Payton realizes he has to maximize quarterback Russell’s abilities on the field. But how? That begins with understanding what Wilson does well and formulating an offensive philosophy which allows him to blossom.
“I think the No. 1 job for us as coaches in evaluating our players [is deciding] what are the things that they do really well. Then, let’s try to put them in those positions,” remarked Payton. “At least that’s the starting point, and I think that it is important to highlight their strengths and minimize maybe any weaknesses.”
Based on past history, a strong running game and focus on play action could help Wilson achieve such goals. Not only that, but investing in the offensive line, which was an integral part of success when Payton was in New Orleans.
That work starts today.
“We’re going to get to work, and ultimately, it’s how we do in the fall. We kind of go from there. We have to earn it with our fans. We’ve got fantastic fans that will appreciate that.”