The Denver Broncos will travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears this weekend with the hope of securing their first win. Starting 0-4 is not what anyone wants, but it’s an especially terrifying thought when you’ve just suffered an embarrassing, historic loss at the top of the season.
When head coach Sean Payton discussed the upcoming game, members of the media made a point to ask him about his reaction to Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus calling defensive plays for the rest of the season. No surprise here, considering Eberflus’ genius when it comes to the secondary, and Payton seemed to think it was a good idea for incorporating more effective plays.
“I always felt as the head coach, it’s easier to be more aggressive when you’re the play caller,” he explained, “When I was calling plays for Bill [Parcells], it was like you needed to get certain things signed off on.”
Payton had high praise for Eberflus, noting his successes and influence on the league throughout his tenure.
“He’s been a fantastic defensive coach [dating] back to Dallas and Indianapolis,” Payton said, “He’s someone that’s highly respected in this league. We’re preparing for the defensive structure that we’ve seen over last season and three games.”
Asked if he’s been harder on the team this week, he had a somewhat mixed answer, again referencing his years under Bill Parcells as the Cowboys’ assistant coach.
“Yeah, at times. See if this makes sense. I’m going to go back to Bill. The hardest time working with Bill was when you were three or four wins in a row. I mean, you couldn’t wait for the game,” he admitted, “You’d have a couple tough losses, and then he’d be a little bit more pick-me-up. I think you have to use your gut relative to what they need.”
Payton shared a memory from when the Cowboys were 4-1 and about to face the Detroit Lions. “They had kind of had one of those streaks from the year before. I don’t know how many games, but we were a heavy favorite,” he said, “He had us all convinced by Friday we were playing the ‘85 Bears. You couldn’t get to the game fast enough.”
He described using experiences like that as a reference point for navigating the waters in his own head coaching career. He noted that he feels “really good” about the energy this week, and emphasized trusting your instincts as a coach, “relative to your team and where you’re at.”
According to Payton, Parcells’ style contrasted greatly from his, but the Hall of Fame coach had a deep influence on him.
“We’re a lot different, but here I am referencing him three times. It can be healthy to clear the air in this industry, which I think is good.”
The coach shared an update on the team’s performance, noting that he can only go by the practices. “I thought we had one of our better weeks. I thought the energy was good. You pick yourself up.”
“This is a grit league with toughness required. I thought [it went] well.”