This was, perhaps, Sean Payton's worst performance as a head coach in his career, and he really makes it hard to believe that this team is not actively tanking. At this point, I don't think it would be a surprise if the Broncos were genuinely not trying to win games. Payton's performance in Week 6 versus the Kansas City Chiefs was just brutal.
And it begs the question; how can we be so sure that this future Hall of Fame, Super Bowl-winning head coach is not actively tanking? Why was Payton taking the ball out of the running backs' hands? Why was his awful calling plays? Why did he take a timeout after Russell Wilson got sacked on third down in the first half? The Broncos could have literally just run the block out on fourth down, but instead, the Chiefs managed to squeak out a field goal to end the first half.
By the way, Payton called that a "boneheaded mistake." Yeah, OK. Anyway, Russell Wilson was pretty awful on Thursday, but once again, it doesn't appear to be all on him. Payton's weird play-calling, the receivers not being able to get open, the pass protection being bad, and Marvin Mims somehow only getting 12 snaps all contributed to the bad performance.
I do think it's funny that Wilson is STILL statistically more efficient than Patrick Mahomes this year.
I'd also be inclined to believe that Sean Payton is actively tanking this team based on what he said in the past about USC QB Caleb Williams, who is projected to be the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft if he declares. Here's what Payton had to say about him:
The main theories that people in the fanbase have suggested regarding the Denver Broncos actively tanking aren't exactly crazy at this point. Sean Payton certainly is making it seem like he does not currently care about winning football games. And furthermore, when the Broncos likely trade several players this coming week, that gives more legs to the idea he has already punted on this season and team.
The Denver Broncos are 1-5 and are likely the worst team in the NFL. These are bad times for the organization. Russell Wilson doesn't appear to be the problem, nor does he appear to be the answer. The team needs to blow this thing up down to the studs and just restart.