Broncos legend applauds Sean Payton for controversial moves

Former Denver Broncos Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth likes what Sean Payton is doing.

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The Denver Broncos have moved on from quarterback Russell Wilson and safety Justin Simmons with more big moves expected to be on the way. While many in Broncos Country are lamenting the possibility of the team not being as competitive without some of the best players on the roster anymore, former Bronco legend and Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth likes what he's seeing from Sean Payton.

Schlereth made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show to discuss what's been going on with the Denver Broncos, who will undoubtedly remain in the news for the next handful of weeks/months, and he spoke some harsh truths that many in Broncos Country probably need to hear and take to heart.

"For eight years this place has been garbage. The Denver Broncos were a crown jewel in the National Football League and (now) they're not, they're irrelevant. And we keep putting Band-Aids on things and think that that's gonna fix it. And I for one am sitting here saying, 'Thank you, Sean Payton, for recognizing that this team is not very good."

Mark Schlereth

Schlereth goes on to say that it might be time for some "surgery" for the Denver Broncos. He says he's glad that Payton is tearing down what has been built in order to rebuild it.

And at this point, it's hard to disagree with him. Since Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have tried to maintain a level of competitiveness that was either unrealistic or just a complete failure. They failed to identify a franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft (both Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, and even Drew Lock). They have failed with their big-money free agents. They have failed with retread quarterbacks. They made arguably the worst trade in NFL history.

There is really no reason for anyone in Broncos Country to be sentimental about anything regarding the last eight years of Denver Broncos football. Although we all love Justin Simmons and his contributions on the field and in the city of Denver (and Simmons deserves to be in the Ring of Fame someday), why is there so much outrage from Broncos Country over Payton gutting the roster?

This team is long overdue for a makeover. This franchise and its new ownership hired Sean Payton, a legendary NFL head coach, to come in and change the culture. In order to change the culture, you might need to change the roster.

And Mark Schlereth is absolutely right. The Broncos have become worse than irrelevant. You've got John Elway handing the Kansas City Chiefs the Lombardi Trophy, for crying out loud.

Enough is enough. Sean Payton is being ridiculed by so many fans in Broncos Country like he's the second coming of Josh McDaniels in Denver, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Sean Payton knows ball. Under his watch, the Broncos were markedly improved in just about every single possible metric from 2022 to 2023. The team was much more competitive under his watch. Players improved. Injuries were down. Special teams was no longer an abomination. The Broncos actually beat the Chiefs for the first time since 2015.

The Broncos have a real coach, now it's time for the fan base to let him assemble a real roster the way he wants it to be done.

When general manager George Paton arrived in 2021, he called the Denver Broncos a "sleeping giant" in terms of the state of the roster. And most of Broncos Country agreed with him that the team was a "quarterback away". And aren't all non-contending NFL teams just a quarterback away? Ask the Houston Texans about it.

Sean Payton needs to get his quarterback in place in order to see his vision fleshed out, but he also needs to be able to build the roster the way he sees fit. Nobody the Broncos have drafted in the last eight years -- as Schlereth points out -- knows what it's like to be in the playoffs. It's time for freshness in Denver. Schlereth sees it. Sean Payton sees it. The Walton-Penner Ownership Group obviously sees it.

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It's time for the rest of Broncos Country to get on board as well.

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