The Denver Broncos are fresh off a historic road loss against the Miami Dolphins and sit at 0-3. In our latest mailbag, Broncos Country asks whether or not Sean Payton’s comments this offseason served a karmic blow on Sunday.

Denver Broncos Mailbag Week 4

If you’d like to participate in our weekly mailbag series, be sure to send an email to cody@milehighsports or keep your eyes peeled for my Monday morning prompts over on Twitter: @CodyRoarkNFL.

Did Sean Payton’s comments come back to bite him in the tail? – Jesse K.

This is a great question to kick off today’s mailbag, Jesse. Sean Payton is definitely receiving the full brunt of criticism across the board from coaches, executives, and national media pundits, with Denver sitting at 0-3 and coming off of an embarrassing loss.

When Payton was hired, he talked specifically about the team becoming ‘anonymous donors, ‘ which means that there isn’t going to be any broadcasting, boasting, or talking after Denver’s disastrous 2022 season.

Unfortunately, Payton’s comments to USA Today that ripped last year’s coaching and Nathaniel Hackett seem to have come full circle after Sunday. While Payton had reflectively admitted he was in the wrong for his comments going public, he wasn’t wrong in his analysis, but after a 50-point drubbing, it comes across as hypocritical.

Right now, Payton and the Broncos are the national media laughing stock alongside the Chicago Bears, and ironically enough, both teams are set to meet in what many are calling the Caleb Williams Bowl in Week 4.

Payton is passionate and outspoken and has a firm belief in his vision for the team, but he’s got his work cut out for him to get Denver out of this hole that they’ve found themselves in.

If the Broncos end up getting the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and select USC Quarterback Caleb Williams, do you see Russell Wilson in the Alex Smith type of role for him? – J Ngai.

Hypothetically, if the Broncos ended up with the first overall pick somehow and did select USC quarterback Caleb Williams, I think that would make sense.

So many people forget that Patrick Mahomes did sit a year under Smith in Kansas City, and I don’t see how it would hurt the Broncos to try a similar approach with a young quarterback who Sean Payton has pegged before as a generational player.

We have seen Payton put Russell Wilson in a position this season where he’s playing better and isn’t the reason that the team is 0-3. It would be unrealistic to expect a rookie QB like Williams, regardless of his talent, to come in immediately and light it up.

A year of sitting behind a future hall of fame would be beneficial.

What type of change could you see coming to the Denver Broncos defense? – Kinlayy G.

Schematically I don’t see any changes taking place. Sean Payton told us on Monday that he hasn’t planned on making any changes to staff after an 0-3 start and that he certainly wouldn’t do that on a conference call.

And he’s right; that’s not for us in the media to know unless an official move happened and was released through the proper channels.

Look, the scheme for Denver’s defense isn’t the issue. It’s virtually the same scheme as the last three years, but the way it’s being called is different by Vance Joseph.

Another element is that Denver’s personnel hasn’t played how they previously have. While Essang Bassey has filled in strongly at the nickel, Denver is missing K’Waun Williams.

A lot of the coverage is off-man or off-zone at about eight yards depth, allowing teams to attack them in the quick passing game.

The Broncos interior defensive line outside of Mike Purcell has struggled to generate any pressure, which makes it difficult for the outside linebackers to see more one on ones, or leads to teams carving them up on the short to intermediate routes.

Obviously, Joseph and the assistant coaches have to put players in a position to succeed, but players have to execute and play their assignments.

After Sunday’s debacle, it’s going to require everybody to look themselves in the mirror to fix what’s been happening.

Which players outside of Patrick Surtain are untouchable – Tyler K.

I’ve gotten a ton of emails, comments, and tweets from fans asking me this question. After an 0-3 start, a lot of fans have suggested that the Broncos embrace a full-on rebuild and tear things down.

There’s a lot of risk associated with that, but let’s say they did. Patrick Surtain and Justin Simmons are the two defensive players who are untouchable because they are cornerstone players.

The Broncos desperately need an elite, premier edge rusher. Jonathon Cooper and Nik Bonitto are developing into very good edge players, but Denver lacks a legitimate premier pass rusher.

On offense, players like Marvin Mims, Quinn Meinerz, and Javonte Williams would be three pieces that I would build my offense around. Denver is already locked in to Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers for years to come, so they would be included in a new look.

Mims’ speed is electric, and it’s been puzzling to see him only get 15 snaps (24% of the offense’s snaps vs. Miami) in each game this year.

What are three positives for the rest of the season? – Jaire

This is a great question. There’s so much room left in the season that anything can change.

1: 14 games remain for the Broncos to adjust, find out who they are, and go on a run. The upcoming schedule doesn’t provide much optimism in the eyes of fans, but it’s the NFL, and we’ve seen crazier things happen.

2: Marvin Mims has been such a fun player to watch through his first three games. Can Sean Payton find a way to make sure he’s on the field as much as Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy? He is a legitimate big-play threat that forces defenses to adjust how they play you.

3: When you pray for rain, you’ve got to deal with the mud too. 0-3 isn’t fun and is not what the team or fanbase expected. We all knew at some point that Denver would face adversity. Unfortunately, they have faced it early on, which has shot the confidence in the eyes of the fanbase.

When do the Denver Broncos fire George Paton? – JW

I’ve received a ton of these questions and comments. I think George Paton is an unfair, easy button punching bag for an enraged fanbase right now.

Paton inherited this Broncos team two years ago. He was put in a weird situation without ownership in place where he had to hire a head coach.

Of course, he is rightfully blamed for the Nathaniel Hackett hire, but let’s see the forest through the trees.

Paton inherited a roster that former GM and President of Football Operations John Elway had built. This is Paton’s third year as a GM.

His job is to help assemble the roster, but he’s also required to collaborate with the coaching staff to provide them with the assets they feel they best need.

Many people are using revisionist history, but the moment he traded for Russell Wilson, fans were flooding social media with praise, ready to build a statue for him outside of Empower Field at Mile High.

The narrative before that was that Denver was just a quarterback away. He went out and made that move. Has it panned out how anybody had hoped for? No, but there is no crystal ball that showed him or us how disastrous 2022 was going to go.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about him extending Russell Wilson before he played a single down. This was under encouragement from Broncos ownership, especially so the team could get ahead of the upcoming QB deals for Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow.

Paton’s first draft class has a variety of players who are playing today, granted some of them are missing time due to injury. It’s clear to see the vision behind some of the moves he has made, but most of the negative statements fans are applying toward him are based on hindsight revisionist history.

As a GM, he’ll take on the blame for many things and will hold onto his fair share of responsibility, but it’s not fair that all of it gets put on him exclusively.