Payton and Wilson have demonstrated an ability to turn things around quickly. Payton had an 0-2 start with the New Orleans Saints during the 2017 season.
“We opened the season at Minnesota, and it was also when the Super Bowl was going to be played at Minnesota,” Payton said on September 20. “I remember, collectively as a team, we wanted to start the season at Minnesota and end it there. Now, I didn’t know how correct I’d be.”
The Saints started that year with losses to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots. New Orleans rebounded to win the NFC South at 11-5 and advanced to the divisional round before falling to the Vikings on a last-second play dubbed “The Minneapolis Miracle.”
Wilson suffered through 0-2 starts with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 and 2018. A playoff run followed each time.
The QB called upon his past to move forward with the Broncos in the present.
“Definitely been to the playoffs before [after having] been down 0-2. The good thing is you’ve got more pitches coming, more games to play. You don’t blink. I think the biggest thing is staying focused on the task and staying focused on progress and staying focused on the journey,” said Wilson to reporters on September 20.
Payton echoed his quarterback’s comments by emphasizing the importance of moving on after a tough loss.
“Listen, you’ve got to get on to the next game. You’ve got to make the corrections. You can’t just blindly say, ‘All right.’ You’ve got to make the corrections, and this will be a good test for us. [It’s] a good team we’re playing, obviously.”
Vance Joseph Details Defensive Execution Ahead of Week 3
Payton and Wilson aren’t the only ones trying to rebound. Following the Broncos’ 35-33 Week 2 loss to the Washington Commanders, Joseph was ripped by Denver media, including by one columnist who wrote that the DC “has to go.”
“Well, I think overall it hasn’t been bad football. Obviously, our second week is going to be some ups and downs from a schematic perspective. But I thought it was some good stuff in both games,” he said.
Joseph then talked about what has been hurting his unit the most.
“Penalties are huge right now,” he said. “That’s hurting us on defense, keeping drives alive, and we’re playing a lot of snaps because of penalties. We have to coach our way out of penalties.”
Through the first two games of 2023, Denver is tied for the league lead in penalties with 19, including 12 on defense.
Former Quarterback Believes Wilson Is Playing Himself Out of Hall of Fame
Another day, another analyst questioning whether Wilson can return to playing at an elite level.
Retired journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked by radio host Dan Patrick whether Wilson could play himself out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The QB turned Thursday Night Football analyst provided an immediate response.
“Yes, I think he is,” Fitzpatrick said on the September 20 episode of “The Dan Patrick Show.” “That’s going to be an interesting one too. At Miami. Whose fault is that going to be if that continues to go south? Is that Sean Payton or [Wilson]?”
Wilson has thrown five touchdowns to just one pick to start the season. In 2022, Wilson didn’t get to five touchdown passes until Week 6.
Patrick then asked Fitzpatrick what caused a dropoff in Wilson’s play.
“I think sometimes you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. That was a historic defense in Seattle. That was a great situation he was put in. Look, he played really well and as soon as this whole ‘Let Russ Cook’ thing happened, and he wanted to go to another place because he wants to have more control and show he could do it somewhere else.”
Fitzpatrick ended his response by saying, “The grass is not always greener.”