If you have not watched the Sean Payton interview on the Broncos website would highly advise do that - not in what he said in how he looked is quite problematic in my opinion. What he said was expected - disdain and disgust filled the air and of course he was biting his tongue to not truly lash out - that wasn't my concern. It was the look, swear looked like his ears were gonna pop off like Jiffy Pop popcorn and was gonna swallow his tongue - so let me give you my three concerns going forward for Payton and the Broncos:

  1. Paytton's health is a major concern to me, we're built very similarly - he's maybe an inch taller than I am and maybe 10-15lbs heavier but still same build type (he's listed at 5'11" and 200lbs). He's a few years younger than I am but we're both 60 or older as am 63 now and he hits 60 this year in December. The last 10yrs of my life have been dedicated to removing stress, eating healthy and a decent diet and proper exercise. I'd be willing to bet his diet and exercise match or exceed my level at this point - his stress level though is off the charts higher than mine.
  2. The time off with the Mai-Tai's the beach in LA and chilling out as an analyst in the NFL game is an easy life of Riley by comparison to being the guy on the sidelines. Stephen A. Smith is one of many that opined that Payton was seeking an LA coaching gig either with the Chargers or Rams, and obviously both teams stood pat. Furthermore, it's been opined that with the musical chairs in the coaching realm as the empty chairs were being filled the Broncos looked to Payton as a reclamation job with RW that he could accomplish and then build a playoff team from the current foundation. He stated in July this offseason that based on what he's done so far would be disappointed to not make the playoffs. What level of disappointment is Payton going to accept if this is a 2-15 football season or at best a 5-12 season as in 2022. My worst-case scenario was 7-10 and best-case scenario 9-8, that's dust in the wind now.
  3. Even though it's just been one full season out of coaching in the NFL that can be a lifetime. Am guessing he's seeing up close and personal how the young guns as HC's rapidly transitioning game plans in the NFL are able to incorporate the rules changes into their game plans, to maximize every snap as a scoring opportunity. Witness the Dolphins running game and schemes, the RB's obviously have a lot to do with it, yet the schematics drawn up to bring three blockers into a gap and create a wedge in precision akin to the 49'ers was pure beauty to watch and am sure shocked Payton as to their symmetrical balance the Bronco's don't possess with their running game. Miami takes running the football to the next level in every play is a TD potentially not just a move the chains gain.
If any of these are truisms in Payton's world, then there has to be concerns in Dove Valley. I must be as straight forward as possible, I can only analyze this from what's on the field on Sundays and the outcome - have NO personal relationship with Payton and am not in the building in any way shape or form, so purely what feel if was in his situation am relating this to - and it ain't good. What are my conclusions - here's a few takeaways:
  • If Payton's health is in fact sketchy or at risk, then could easily see at any point in this season ala Kube's having to take a step back - a leave of absence or flat-out retirement in the offing. Again, it wasn't what Payton said in the presser after the Miami game, it was how he looked, totally red faced, boiling over with anger - totally understood on that historic loss & mark on his coaching legacy, yet how much of that can a guy 60 built with an apple build take before he blows an artery or worse. My hope is that his blood pressure is fine and health not an issue but would monitor that closely if was Payton or his medical staff or team.
  • Is Payton's mind and belief system really into a total rebuild as quite frankly - that's most likely where the Broncos are headed. That's not a 2 year rebuild or turnaround but a total 3-5 years minimum - ditching veteran contracts, finding rookie players through the draft on rookie deals and sending RW and other veterans packing to start lightening the cap load and bring in a new era. Is that what Payton signed up for?
  • Has the time off from coaching gotten Payton's better judgement against coming back to a NFL dominated by young talent as HC and coordinator level that he's lost a step against and no longer able to match wits with. Let's face it the VJ hiring would point in that direction. Who wants to go into a gunfight with a Daisy BB gun - yet that's what Payton's aligned himself with in VJ. Blaming VJ for all the ills is of course ridiculous as it was Bienemy who adjusted at halftime on offense during the Commanders game while Payton came out in the second half clueless - has the master of play calling lost his mojo - signs are not encouraging to this point.
  • Finally, was it all a hoax in New Orleans and really more about Drew Brees in his prime than ever about Payton as the HC. If RW was truly a Drew Brees "clone" then Payton should be in good hands. RW is not - he's basically what he is now a serviceable low-level NFL QB1, nothing impactful to the point of taking over games at this point in his career. We all thought Payton could mask RW's shortcomings through utilizing RW's strengths and win football games. Does anyone really believe that now - it's not happening and quite frankly it's not on RW as he's given his all to be at his absolute best for 2023. Yet it's just not happening for him to be a franchise QB or even top ten level, as too often he just has no answer when he's pressured and harassed into making errors or eating the football.
My hope is that Payton is able to finish out 2023 and then evaluates what he wants and needs from coaching in the NFL going forward. Something is going on in Dove Valley as NO NFL team can lose by 50 points and have 70 put onto its defense unless there's a fundamental issue in place - and it has to include whether the team has bought into the HC - the HC has lost the team or the whole thing has gone awry, and they're all left in bewilderment as to what happened and what to do next. Not being in the building cannot answer any of those concerns or questions myself. Gonna be a rough and bumpy ride is all I see for quite a while Bronco fan. Am not sure that Payton is gonna be on it to see the light at the end of the tunnel either - as have concerns as listed - and if he's not - then another first round pick wasted!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.