There’s been a lot of speculation on how a certain relationship is being handled behind closed doors at the Denver Broncos headquarters.
That relationship is between head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Russell Wilson.
In the offseason, Payton praised Wilson and even explained how he would get Wilson back to playing at an elite level after having the worst season of his career in 2022.
During Denver’s loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 15, Payton was seen yelling at Wilson on the sideline, but we’re still unaware of why Payton was yelling at him.
— Ernie (@es3_09) December 17, 2023
On December 18, during the Colin Cowherd Podcast, Colin Cowherd said, “Sean [Payton] has blown up with Russell [Wilson] at the podium, on the sidelines. When I look at Russell and Sean, I don’t think it works.”
Cowherd continued, “I don’t think Sean’s ever going to buy in. I think he’s done the best job he feels he can do, but I think he’s a difficult player based on the fact that Sean feels he’s getting a ‘B’ guy at both passing and athletically.”
While on the same podcast, Cowherd was joined by John Middlekauff and he gave his thoughts on whether the relationship will last.
“He really wants to yell at him all the time, I would imagine. Let’s face it, when you go into a new relationship and your previous relationship is the best relationship you’re probably ever going to have, he [Payton] compares everything to Drew Brees. If I was a betting man right now, Russell Wilson will not be on the team (next year). Middlekauff added, “If he [Payton] wants him gone, he will be gone.”
We also cannot forget that the Broncos, led by Wilson, have won six out of their last eight games and have positioned themselves for a chance to sneak into the playoffs as an AFC Wild Card team or even with the division.
Sean Payton Downplayed Interaction With Russell Wilson
After the game against the Lions, Payton was asked about the incident between Wilson and himself.
“I was upset about the call (Offensive offsides that called back a touchdown), that’s all. What I talk with Russell about is none of your business.”
After the game, Wilson was asked about the situation on the sideline, but he dodged the question.
“We wanted to score on that drive, and we were frustrated we didn’t more than anything else,” Wilson said. “That was the disappointing part and we were a little frustrated.”
“We all want to score there, and that’s our focus,” Wilson said. “We want a coach who is passionate.”
Two days after the game, Payton spoke to the local media once again and was asked once again about the incident.
“Nothing new to share,” Payton said. “It certainly, in-game intensity, heat of the moment, all those things. But nothing more to add.”
Payton also went out of his way to mention that he and Wilson have a “great relationship.”
Russell Wilson Has Turned Things Around Under Sean Payton
There is some speculation that Payton doesn’t want Wilson beyond this season, but the numbers might show differently.
In 2022, under head coach Nathanial Hackett, Wilson had the worst season of his career.
Wilson threw for a career low, 16 touchdowns to a career second-worst 11 interceptions. The Denver quarterback also had the lowest completion percentage of his entire career at 60.5% and his quarterback rating was his worst too at just 84.4.
This season, the Denver offense struggled early trying to find the end zone like they’ve had a problem doing since Peyton Manning was breaking records.
After a 1-5 start to the season, Wilson quarterbacked the Broncos to five straight wins and got them right back into the playoff hunt.
During the win streak, Wilson threw for 8 touchdowns to 0 interceptions and averaged just 178.8 yards per game through the air.
For the season, Wilson has the fifth-most passing touchdowns (24) and owns the seventh-best quarterback rating (97.5) in the NFL. Wilson also ranks in the top 10 in completion percentage (66.3%).
We also can’t forget that on December 12, Payton expressed that his team is aiming for the division title and not just a Wild Card spot.