When a team replaces a glorified offensive coordinator who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time with Super Bowl winning legend, confidence from fans of this team tends to rise.
Yet, it’s logical, if not encouraged, to exercise caution with regards to the Denver Broncos 2023 prospects. With the release of the team’s 2023 schedule this afternoon, not only will the Broncos have to face their usually AFC West foes like the Chiefs and Chargers (not gonna include the Jimmy G raiders, as they don’t scare me) twice, but also a tough AFC East with Josh Allen and the Bills and Aaron Rodgers and the Jets as well as a solid NFC North.
It won’t be an easy debut season on paper for new coach Sean Payton and a Russell Wilson driven to rest the narrative of his career, but don’t tell that to former Broncos wide receiver great Emmanuel Sanders.
Nay, the man who once donned the #10 jersey for the Broncos, where he collected his one and only Super Bowl ring, is all in on the new-era, Sean Payton-led boys in orange and blue.
During an appearance on the NFL Network with Rich Eisen and Maurice Jones-Drew, Sanders confidently answered Eisen’s “most likely to go worst to first” question by saying the Broncos. He mentioned how Wilson was booed at a recent Denver Nuggets game and that he was confident that Payton and his QB would shift the point of view in their favor.
“Defensively, this team is stacked,” Sanders would go on to say. “I love this team defensively. They finished seventh (in total defense) last year, and now they have Sean Payton. I played for Sean Payton in New Orleans, and I’m telling you, every time I was in the huddle, he was always two plays ahead of the defensive coordinator.”
As a former receiver himself, Sanders pointed to the talented WR corps Payton has to work with that will, hopefully for the Broncos, get Russell Wilson back to the QB he once was.
“He has Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, I mean he has the playmakers!” Sanders would continue on. “I got a feeling Sean Payton is going to get Russell Wilson right, so I’m gonna say the Broncos (as the team most likely to go from worst to first). I know a lot of people aren’t going to like that, but I’m rooting for my Broncos.”
After a quick “Broncos Country, let’s ride” drop from Sanders, Eisen reminded him that it would mean the Chiefs wouldn’t win the division. Sanders almost seemed to take joy as he paused and said, “Yeah, I know that.” Pretty, pretty, pret-TAY cool.
Look, to be honest, the chances of the Broncos going worst to first in a division with Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes is easier said than done. The team did significantly increase the odds in their favor by bringing in Payton and revamping the offensive line, but there is still a lot left to be desired when putting this team side by side with the reigning Super Bowl champs.
However, it is refreshing to hear Sanders, someone who earned his way to Broncos legend status, back up his former team. As a reminder, he spent four years in Pittsburgh as well as stops in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Buffalo, so having him as an ally still is pretty awesome.
Will the Broncos rise to Sanders’ lofty prediction? Impossible to say, but needless to say, #10 has the team’s back for the foreseeable future.
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