The Denver Broncos are looking to solve their issues related to the quarterback position. With Sean Payton’s arrival in Denver, the Broncos quarterback room should benefit tremendously going into this season.

State of the Denver Broncos quarterback position

The Denver Broncos are banking on Russell Wilson turning things around this upcoming season after a disastrous 2022 campaign. With Sean Payton taking over as the team’s head coach heading into the season, Wilson and others behind him should benefit from his experience.

Russell Wilson returns in 2023 but has to bounce back
Last season was an emotional roller coaster for Broncos fans. After Denver traded for Wilson last March, Broncos Country was enamored with excitement and the hype of potentially solving the years-long issue of not having a franchise quarterback.

The hype quickly fizzled out after Wilson struggled inside Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. He threw a career-low 16 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions as Denver sputtered to a 5-12 record.

2022 is a year that Broncos fans and Wilson would like to forget.

Wilson will get the chance to turn things around this season under the thumb of new head coach Sean Payton.

As the Broncos kick off the first phase of their organized team activities, Wilson was front and center for voluntary workouts.

Payton appears to be designing his offense around pounding the rock, which should make things easier for Wilson from a schematic standpoint.

As it pertains to last season, Payton was very open about how poorly constructed the Broncos offense was.

“He’s super competitive,” Payton said about Wilson. “He’s won at a high level. He’s someone that I think moves well. He’s someone that I think works extremely hard. It’s hard to find guys with all those traits. Now, I watched, with every one of you, the season that took place a year ago. I said this a little bit earlier. There’s probably a little bit of dirt on a lot of people’s hands. When you win five games, it is what it is. I don’t think I need to elaborate any more. It wasn’t good. Wasn’t good on offense, that’s for sure. It was hard film to watch.”

Last season is officially over, with Payton metaphorically breaking off the rearview mirror — it’s full speed or nothing going forward.

Jarrett Stidham taking over as Russ’ backup
One of the Denver Broncos first moves in NFL Free Agency was addressing the backup quarterback position behind Wilson for this upcoming season.

Jarrett Stidham will learn behind Wilson and develop under Payton’s offensive philosophy. After spending 2022 with one of Denver’s biggest rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders — Stidham is a Bronco.

After Derek Carr was subsequently benched by Josh McDaniels, Stidham finished out the year as the starter. In his first start in Vegas, he lit up the NFL’s number-one-ranked defense against the San Francisco 49ers for 364 yards, and three passing touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.

Payton believes that Stidham’s growth trajectory is trending upward as a number two quarterback and believes the signing was important for the Broncos.

“What I said is I think there’s upside in this player,” Payton said of Stidham at the NFL Annual Meeting. “So here we are. We have a young player. I think there’s certain players we saw in free agency—can they come in and play and start? Yes. I think you get that with [QB] Jarrett [Stidham], but I also think you get a player who is still ascending. If you watch the 49ers’ game—have you seen that game? That’s impressive against a good defense. He was a priority for us—quietly. Fortunately, it worked out where we were able to get him.”

He’ll replace Brett Rypien as Wilson’s backup and will be ahead of Jarrett Guarantano as the team’s 90-man roster formulates.

Why is Sean Payton the most important addition?
It’s clear as day that the Denver Broncos biggest addition to the quarterback room is Sean Payton.

Why though? Historically, Denver’s newest head coach has put his quarterbacks in a position to succeed by designing a scheme around them.

Take for instance players like Teddy Bridgewater who went 5-0 as a starter in 2019 for the New Orleans Saints when asked to step in — throwing for 1384 yards, nine touchdowns to two interceptions, a 67.9 completion percentage, and 153.8 perfect passer rating.

In 2021, Jameis Winston was on pace for a historic finish to the season but tore his ACL seven weeks into the season. He threw for 14 touchdowns in comparison to three interceptions prior to his injury while leading New Orleans to a 5-2 record with him as the starter.

After Drew Brees suffered several injuries, Taysom Hill stepped up in a big way and accounted for over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2020 and 2021 as Payton’s main weapon on offense — contributing as a passer and as a rusher.

Denver’s newest head coach re-designed the Saints offensive structure during Hill’s stretch of starting at quarterback, signaling that he knows how to maximize his personnel at the position.

If Wilson can turn things around this season, the Denver Broncos will have every opportunity to get themselves into the playoff mix next year.