Rumor that Sean Payton doesn't like Russ can probably be put to bed

Sean Payton doesn't like Russ? You can put that rumor to bed.

Jan 8, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass in
Jan 8, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass in / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos Country is currently buzzing on a Thursday morning after the report drop from USA Today's Jarrett Bell, who debuted what seemed to be a tell-all from Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

Payton, who has been notoriously keeping facility activity quiet and been in total control of what gets leaked (even in training camp, media is no longer allowed to tweet during the session), had a lot to say concerning the Broncos' disastrous 2022 campaign. Besides just the shots taken at Nathaniel Hackett and the 2022 staff, there are plenty of takeaways from that article.

However, one really stood out.

This article serves as evidence that there are no hard feelings between Russell Wilson and Sean Payton, as has been reported and speculated since Sean Payton's arrival in Denver. To many, it seemed that Payton immediately shutting down Wilson's extra staff was a sign that he did not like or respect the quarterback. This intensified when it seemed that Sean Payton shied away from speaking positively about Russ when he was at the podium. However, what about the 2022 season was positive? Payton established quickly that he was not here to sugarcoat things, but to right the sinking ship that is the Broncos.

After the Scouting Combine early this year, NBC Sports' Matthew Berry dropped a report that seemed to solidify the speculation that Wilson and Payton may not get along well. Barry explained a source told him: "I don't think Sean likes Russ. He's got one year to prove himself or Payton will move on" (per NBC Sports).

However, in Payton's interview with Bell, it does not feel like the tone could be more different. Sure, there could be truth to Russ being on a one-year audition, but Payton was quick to establish who he felt was at fault for Wilson's down season in 2022:

""There's so much dirt around that. There's 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don't know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn't just Russell. He didn't just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn't get a play in.""

Sean Payton (per USA Today)

Sean Payton also expanded on his disapproval of all of the extra bodies in the building on behalf of Russell Wilson, stating that he does not fault Wilson for this, either: "That wasn't his fault. That was the parents who allowed it. That's not an incrimination on him, but an incrimination on the head coach, the GM, the president and everybody else who watched it all happen." Payton also expressed that a quarterback having an office to watch film is "normal", but like everything else, gets put under a microscope when you're not winning games.

Sean Payton has been clear that he believes Russell Wilson still has it in him, and as of today, has made it very clear who he believes the fault lies with for Russ's struggles in 2022. This report should bolster the confidence of everyone who worried there was a potential rift between Sean Payton and Russell Wilson. Sure, it could still be true that they won't be best friends--we don't know. However, this certainly challenges the concept that Payton doesn't have much faith in Russell Wilson.


Clearly, he does. While a professional head coach should be going to bat for his players, it is unlikely one speaks with this much confidence if they don't believe what they are saying.

If Sean Payton believes Russell still has it in him, there's no reason for fans to not believe it, too.

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