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Broncos legend expects ‘much better year’ from Russell Wilson in Sean Payton’s first season

In February, the Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton, a Super Bowl-winning head coach, hoping he could get quarterback Russell Wilson back on track. 

Wilson struggled in his first season in Denver, finishing the year with the lowest completion percentage and fewest touchdowns of his career. 

Payton is known as a quarterback guru, and one Broncos legend thinks he is the perfect coach for Wilson in the late stages of his career. 


“Sean has a great feel for the QB position. He’s so knowledgeable on the offensive side. I think he knows what Russell will do to the best. Like every good football team, we have to try to run the football and run it successfully. And if we do that, it gives Russell a much better chance to be successful in the passing game,” two-time Super Bowl champion John Elway told ABC 7 Denver.

“(Wilson) is such a positive guy. I think he’s excited about it. With what was going on last year, a lot of different things, Sean brings in so much experience. I think Russell is looking forward to that coach to put him in the best position to be successful. … It was a tough year for him last year. But he’s positive and tough. He will bounce back, and I think he’s going to have a much better year this year.”

The Broncos made the blockbuster move for Wilson prior to the start of the 2022 NFL season, expecting the nine-time Pro Bowler to end Denver’s playoff drought, which dates back to 2015. 

Russell Wilson throws on run

However, the Broncos went 4-11 to start the year, firing head coach Nathaniel Hackett before he was able to complete his first season as head coach.

Denver traded a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-rounder in exchange for Payton, who was still under contract with the New Orleans Saints after announcing he was stepping away following the 2021 season. 

With the Broncos preparing for the start of training camp, eight-year NFL veteran Justin Simmons sang Payton’s praises in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. 

Sean Payton is introduced as head of the Broncos

“It’s been great so far. We’ve only had OTAs with him this offseason, and it’s been great just getting to know him, getting to know his coaching style a little bit. And just makes you really excited for camp and then preseason heading into the season,” Simmons said 

“He’s been really great, he’s been awesome, super educational and, like I said, I can’t wait for the season.”

The Broncos open training camp on Friday, July 28. 

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.

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