The Denver Broncos might be fielding the worst squad in their team's history. Could this lead to Sean Payton being a one-and-done coach with Denver? After one of the worst starts in team history, I think the conversation can be had. I mean, just because Payton enjoyed 15 years of success in New Orleans does not mean he'd enjoy the same success in Denver.
And that's becoming more and more clear by the week. Sure, the offense is fine and Russell Wilson looks good, but the team is horribly undisciplined, and we might be watching one of the worst defenses in NFL history. Someone is at the root of all of this, and while Payton surely does not hold all of the blame for everything that is going wrong, he holds most of it.
Payton deserves all the credit in the world for "fixing" Russell Wilson. The team is averaging 24.2 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL. They last had a competent offense back in 2014, when they scored the 2nd most points per game in the NFL. Their defense, however, ranks 32nd in the NFL, allowing opposing teams to score 36.2 points per game.
The Broncos are making history playing defense and not the good kind. The team also has committed 37 penalties in 2023, which is the 2nd-most in the league, only behind the Carolina Panthers. Payton's also got roster authority, and two of his large free agent additions look pretty awful thus far.
Zach Allen has been virtually non-existent along the defensive line, and right tackle Mike McGlinchey has been a total disaster. Ben Powers has looked solid at left guard, which is something, and Samaje Perine has done well. Anyway, there have been some positives that Payton has orchestrated. The offense is good. The unit can move the ball and has shown the ability for the big plays. Sure, they stall out at times, especially in the second half, but we're five games through the season and the only nine teams have scored more points than Denver.
The 2023 Denver Broncos as a whole, though, are dreadfully bad. I get that much was made about the addition of Sean Payton, but is it reasonable to think that if things don't show some sort of improvement the veteran coach could be one-and-done? Well, no, Payton is not going anywhere. This man was brought in to revive the Denver Broncos, and while I don't think he at all envisioned the season going this way, that doesn't mean there weren't going to be some tough stretches.
Denver gave up a first and second-round pick for Payton. He's also the de-facto GM. There's also another important point to make here that I saw from Troy Renck on Twitter.
Troy makes a good point. The Broncos have had a ton of turnover with the recent coaching staffs, and surely they want their type of player. Payton is working with a bit of a mixed bag in that regard, so I'm sure he's going to get some time to get rid of the personnel who do not fit his vision and keep those who do. I don't think Payton would get fired after one season. That doesn't seem to at all be likely, but the 1-4 start sure begs the question.