When Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton compiled a list of candidates to help fill out his coaching staff, two assistant coaches stood out in a way that could change the football landscape in the future. Why should Broncos fans embrace Payton’s decision?

Denver Broncos embracing unorthodox approach with two coaches

Many former players have turned in their jerseys for a headset to coach in the NFL. For the Denver Broncos, two members of their coaching staff will experience the transition from studying a game plan to helping build and implement one.

Chris Banjo jumps into special teams role as a coach
Chris Banjo is turning in his helmet and jersey for a coaching cap and headset. After retiring from the game after 2022, he’ll remain around football in a different capacity.

Known for his role as a special teams standout, Banjo put together a strong career — playing 10 seasons and appearing in 131 games. After spending three seasons with Payton and the New Orleans Saints (2016-2018) he’ll reunite with the Broncos head coach this season as an assistant under special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica.

Payton knew Banjo wanted to get into coaching and acted quickly to bring on a former player who he can help grow as a coach.

“I’ll start with Chris, actually,” Payton mentioned last week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “It was one of the nights back at the hotel, just really looking through rosters and players I have coached. We really had a really good experience with Chris when he came from Green Bay to New Orleans. I knew that he was still playing at Arizona, but he was at that stage in his career where he was looking forward maybe to getting into coaching. I had called him one night and low and behold, it was something he wanted to do and do pretty quickly. Normally, I would say that it takes two years. There is a transition that it takes for players, where they go their way and then they want to get back in.”

Banjo’s knowledge and experience as a core four special teams player (kickoff, punt, kick/punt return, field goal/extra point) will help him work with the various young players who will play pivotal roles on the special teams’ side of things in 2023.

Davis Webb will have to earn respect as quarterback coach
Davis Webb will be coaching the quarterback room and Russell Wilson this upcoming season. What’s interesting for the Broncos is how this process began.

Last season, Klint Kubiak worked with Wilson, Brett Rypien, and Josh Johnson. While Wilson’s play suffered under the circumstances of a poorly designed offense, poor execution, and performance — Webb could be a wildcard despite his limited experience coaching.

Why did Sean Payton elect to hire a coach who was on an NFL roster last season as a player?

“Back to Davis, he came highly recommended from a bunch of different coaches,” Payton said in an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.”[Giants Head Coach] Brian Daboll, [former Giants QB] Eli Manning, I spoke to a number of people. I kept hearing the same things about him, so we brought him in. I didn’t have to do that with Chris [Banjo], but I didn’t know Davis from—I remember him as a player, but I didn’t know him at all. He did a really good job. Those are two unusual hired because they were just on rosters last year, but their experience and where they are at—he’s a coach’s kid, Davis is. He had a file on his computer of every gameplan that he’s ever had since he was in high school, then college, then Texas Tech. Then, [Chiefs QB Patrick] Mahomes comes in and then he transfers. It was really impressive just going through the process. Then, the fit for us, too—especially in that room—I think will be good.”

Webb’s first career start came last season as a member of the New York Giants despite being in the NFL for six seasons. While Webb (28) is younger than Wilson (34), he’ll play a major role in helping assist Payton to turn the Denver Broncos’ offense around this season.

With Payton’s experience as a coach, having other experienced coaches like offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and Assistant Head Coach Mike Westhoff makes a move like this easier.

For Webb himself, the experience of being a former player and having valuable years under his belt preparing in an NFL QB room will buy him some respectability — ultimately he’ll have to earn the full respect of the players he coaches.

Initially, these moves were met with skepticism by Broncos fans but here’s why they should embrace Payton’s hires.

The NFL benefits as a whole when these moves pay off and former players like Webb and Banjo can learn and become better coaches under an experienced staff as they continue to carve out a new path in the sport they love most.