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Sean Payton sees parallels between Courtland Sutton and Michael Thomas

Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton is encouraged by what he has seen with wide receiver Courtland Sutton to date.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country.

The Denver Broncos have a loaded wide receiver group. After several seasons of questionable quarterback play and being decimated by injuries, fans are hopeful that this is the year Denver’s corps of receivers produce at a high level.

With Sean Payton in the fold, most of us are confident his offensive genius can help get the Broncos’ offense on track. One player in particular who is poised for a revival in the upcoming season is wide receiver Courtland Sutton. After a tremendous 2019 campaign, Sutton has endured several hardships and mediocre years of production after signing a lucrative contract extension prior to the 2020 season.

But the past is the past. It’s a new era in the Mile High City and a fresh opportunity for everyone on the roster to prove their worth. With that in mind, Sutton has been diligent studying New Orleans Saints offensive tape, in particular that of wide receiver Michael Thomas, who thrived under Payton’s offense.

“He’s looking at Mike’s tape because Mike played ‘X.’ That’s what he’s playing, and the offense is similar. I was encouraged when I read that because he’s going to line up in a lot of those spots,” remarked Payton after practice the other day.

Injuries have derailed Thomas’ promising career, but he was one of the best receivers in the National Football League from 2016 to 2019. In that time, he had 470 catches, 5,512 receiving yards, and 32 touchdowns in those four seasons. That top-flight production earned him three straight Pro-Bowl accolades, as well as All-Pro honors in ‘18 and ‘19 and the distinction of being the AP Offensive Player of the Year in ‘19 as well.

With Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and Marivn Mims in the fold, it’s unlikely that Sutton will garner the ~ 140 targets a year Thomas was accustomed to. In my opinion, there are just too many weapons to have that gigantic of production, but the opportunity for him to be a key player in Payton’s offense is there for the taking.

“He’s doing well. Man, he’s transitioning well. I give him a hard time—that 2019 album he put out was pretty good. We’re looking for another really good soundtrack in 2023,” stated Payton. “He wants to please, and he works his tail off. He’s big [and] he’s strong, so those are similarities. He’s passionate. Michael was passionate.”

And if all goes well, the rest of the Broncos offense will be in the limelight once more—and the apple of the eyes of all those watching what transpires this coming season. Here is to hoping Sutton’s passion, dedication, and talent pay off in a big way for our beloved Broncos in 2023. I’m a believer and think he is set to have his best season yet.

As always, thank you for reading. Here are a few various clips to start your day off in this installment of Horse Tracks.

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