Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd commented on Denver’s improvements following their 24-22 win over the Buffalo Bills.
He began his November 13 podcast by assessing the performance of quarterback Russell Wilson throughout the 2023 season.
“Sean Payton has fixed Russell Wilson to the level he can be fixed relative to what he has to work with,” Cowherd said on his Volume Sports podcast.
Wilson completed 24-of-29 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10. The star quarterback has thrown 18 touchdown passes to four interceptions through nine games. Wilson’s improvement under Payton is evident despite throwing under 200 yards in five straight starts.
Cowherd notes Denver’s ascension during their three-game winning streak is a testament to Payton’s coaching. The analyst remarked that the Broncos are “as good as they can possibly be” with Payton at the helm.
“If you want to know what coaching looks like, it’s not just the coaches that get to the playoffs. Sean Payton was asked to fix the coaching staff, fix Russell Wilson, fix the culture, and in the middle of a season, fix the defense. He’s done all four. Denver relative to their talent is okay. They’re an okay football team,” Cowherd said.
Cowherd also couldn’t resist taking a dig at one of the Broncos’ struggling AFC West rivals before shifting topics.
“The Chargers are 4-5, the Broncos are 4-5. What did Brandon Staley have to fix?”
Russell Wilson Praised Sean Payton Following Upset: ‘Changing This Culture’
Wilson led a 10-play, 57-yard drive, which led to a game-winning 36-yard field goal from kicker Wil Lutz. The win gave Wilson the most fourth-quarter comebacks since his 2012 rookie campaign.
Following the win over Buffalo, the veteran quarterback went out of his way to praise Payton and the coaching staff.
“I think Coach Payton has done a great job of changing this culture and really impacting us as players,” Wilson told reporters on November 13. “The whole coaching staff has been amazing. We’re in this thing together. We’re battling together. We’re fighting together. We believe in us.”
The Broncos have fought adversity to rebound from their 1-5 start to the season. Wilson believes the win has set the standard in the Mile High City.
“We’re going to celebrate. We’re going to have some fun. This is a huge one. This is a good football team we just played. Obviously, the past couple weeks we’ve been playing some really good teams. To beat the Chiefs, to beat these guys, [that] sets the standard of who we should be and who we can be and who we’re going to be,” Wilson said.
Sean Payton’s Patience With Defense Is Paying Off
No one would fault Payton for firing defensive coordinator Vance Joseph after Denver’s 70-20 loss in Week 3. However, the veteran head coach decided to retain Joseph, and his patience is paying dividends.
The Broncos forced four turnovers against the Bills. Denver has been opportunistic on defense, forcing nine total turnovers in their last two games versus MVP-caliber quarterbacks.
Buffalo converted only 3-of-8 opportunities on third down. Additionally, the Bills failed on a fourth-down attempt with 11:22 left in the third quarter.
The Broncos have allowed 16 points per game during their three-game winning streak. Denver has also allowed just 67 points in their last four games since their Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The defensive turnaround has been remarkable, and Denver has Payton to thank for giving the unit time to gel.