Sean Payton’s Playbook to Ignite Broncos’ Offense in 2023: QB Coach

Sean Payton

Getty According to a former quarterback-turned-coach, the Broncos' offense will be in good hands in 2023 with head coach Sean Payton at the helm.

A former quarterback-turned-quarterbacks coach believes new Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton can transform the team’s offensive output in 2023.

NFL/National Quarterback Director for Jenkins Elite player development academy Tim Jenkins posted a June 21 film breakdown video on his “All Things QB” YouTube channel. In the video, Jenkins said Payton will help Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson play to his strengths.

“I am so excited because I think Sean Payton was an absolute dynamite hire for the Broncos,” Jenkins said. “What I’m really excited about when it comes to Russell Wilson, and I think Sean Payton brings elements to this Broncos offense that address specific schematic and situational concerns that we all have from last season.”

A former Fort Lewis College standout quarterback, Jenkins made the St. Louis Rams’ pre-season roster but was released despite having a 95.8 quarterback rating. He went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League before founding Jenkins Elite.  Jenkins has since trained numerous quarterbacks, including current Chicago Bears signal caller Phillip Walker

In his video, Jenkins said Payton’s playcalling will be key for the Broncos this upcoming season. Payton served 15 years as New Orleans Saints head coach, guiding future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and the team to a Super Bowl win in 2010.

After watching film of the 2020 Saints, Jenkins said he sees some similarities between Brees that season (his final year in the pros) and Wilson in 2022. Brees threw for 2,942 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2020, while Wilson had arguably the worst season of his career in 2020 with 3,524 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 picks.

“I’m not saying he’s (Wilson is) towards the end of his career, but what I am saying is he struggled last year,” Jenkins said. “And so what I’m thinking is it’s kind of a good comparison of champions who have already gone through this, right? You’ve got a quarterback who’s won in this league, been successful in this league, and it’s your job to make sure he maintains even as his physical gifts decline.”

The Broncos were among the worst offensive NFL teams in 2022. The team ranked dead last (32nd) in points per game (16.9), and ex-head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired after Week 16.

With that in mind, Jenkins believes some of Payton’s coaching concepts could help Wilson thrive under center this upcoming season.

Tim Jenkins’ Thoughts on Sean Payton’s Offensive Concepts

As Jenkins watched the 2020 film of alternate Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, he took extensive notice of New Orleans running inside zone read run-pass option (RPO) as well as the standard RPO.

Wilson has proven in the past that he has the ability to keep the ball, pass it or hand it off on RPOs, but that concept was rather ineffective within Hackett’s 2022 offense. Jenkins said that the design of Payton’s RPOs paired with Wilson’s skillset could be trouble for opposing defenses.

Another concept that Jenkins noted he’s “excited” to see from Payton is one-off-shot plays. Not only will that allow Wilson to show off his deep-ball accuracy, but it also could allow him to be flexible while making pre-snap decisions.

Jenkins said these types of plays could allow the Broncos to line up as if they’re taking a deep shot, but Wilson would also have the ability to audible to a screen pass.

“I don’t have a lot of data to back this up, but anecdotally, I felt like (the Broncos) were the worst screen team in football (last year),” Jenkins said. “But to me, Sean Payton is going to be able to set up the screen game and he’s going to do it much more effectively.”

How Will Russell Wilson Improve His Throwing?

The last concept Jenkins said he wants Payton to implement more in Denver is condensed sets among wide receivers. That way, Wilson would be more successful in throwing passes over the middle, which has been a concern for the 11-year pro. Per Mile High Huddle’s Thomas Hall, Wilson’s short middle completion percentage from 84% in 2021 to 49% by Week 5 in 2022.

Wilson’s 5-foot-11 height still could be a concern to some, but he has proved he can lead offenses effectively in the past. After all, Wilson is a Super Bowl champion with the Seattle Seahawks. He also played in the 2015 Super Bowl, which he lost in the last minute to the New England Patriots.

With that in mind, Jenkins said Payton should utilize more condensed sets to get receivers open across the middle, just as he did with Brees and receivers like Michael Thomas. In Denver, that could allow for speedy receivers like Jerry Jeudy to be explosive by gaining yards after the catch.

“(Brees is) not particularly tall and he was ripping the ball over the middle,” Jenkins said. “Now listen, that could be different players. But I do think when you have somebody like Sean Payton helping you get into the right calls, get into the right sets, I really do believe that that helps you become a more effective thrower of the football over the middle of the field.”

Payton’s experience and knowledge of the game are factors as to why the Broncos hired him in the first place. Jenkins said that Denver should ultimately be able to score more points in 2023 with Payton leading the way.

“I could be biased because I’m excited — we’re all excited,” Jenkins said. “But what I will say is that I think there are a lot of concepts that Sean Payton brings. I think a lot of the things that I’m probably most excited about in bringing is the no-nonsense approach.”

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