The Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton to help restore the franchise’s tradition of winning, but they also brought in the highly experienced coach to help guide Russell Wilson back to form.

Denver Broncos hope Russell Wilson returns to form in 2023

When Russell Wilson took center stage for the Denver Broncos last season, the future hall-of-fame quarterback didn’t live up to his standard — or the team’s standard regarding his performance. In 2022, the Broncos newly acquired quarterback threw for a career-low 16 touchdown passes and a career-low completion percentage of 60.5%. Even Wilson’s off-year production-wise proved to be more than any other quarterback Denver has had in the last five years.

Expectations for him were massively high and were not met, leading to a disappointing outlook regarding his future. However, Wilson demonstrated various flashes throughout the Broncos rocky season, showcasing that his level of play can still be elevated under the right circumstances. Enter Sean Payton.

For Payton, he’ll not only be tasked with helping the Broncos win games, but he’ll try to create a playlist that allows Wilson to play in tune.

“Quarterback certainly is one of them in our league that gets scrutinized very [often],” Payton said during Monday’s introductory press conference. “It wasn’t the type of season he wanted to have. I feel like the last couple of weeks, we saw a little bit more of maybe what we were expecting or accustomed to. I say, ‘We,’ [meaning] you all when you signed them. I think the No. 1 job for us as coaches in evaluating our players [is deciding] what are the things that they do really well. Then, let’s try to put them in those positions. At least that’s the starting point, and I think that it is important to highlight their strengths and minimize maybe any weaknesses. Here’s what I know. I know that he’s a hard worker. I know he’s an extremely hard worker, and that’s important. You take that and you understand the skill set. He’s won a lot of games in Seattle. We played him quite a bit just because we’re both playoff teams in the NFC at that time. Then you go from there. That’s the same case—although it’s a much more visible position, it’s the same case and the same goal for us with every player on this roster. What do they do well? It’s easy to point out what players don’t do well, and there are certain coaches that tend to look at it that way. I kind of was taught early on, ‘Hey, what is it they do well? Let’s have them do those things.’ None of us want to go—I don’t like singing, period, but none of us want to be at a karaoke bar with a song we don’t know the words to. How do we get them comfortable and highlight their strengths? That’s the process that’s going to begin right now. I’m learning about every one of these players, not just Russell.”

On top of that, the newly appointed Broncos head coach noted that the only coaches allowed in the building are those who he employs on staff. This was asked in relation to Wilson’s relationship with his own personal quarterback coach Jake Heaps. Heaps will continue to maintain his working relationship with Wilson, but it will have to come away from the team facility.

Part of the deal with Sean Payton aiming to restore the winning tradition previously set under late owner Pat Bowlen — Russell Wilson buying into the Payton way will hopefully lead to more success for the team.