While it is just preseason and Arizona's coaching isn't much of a competition against Broncos head coach Sean Payton's play-calling abilities, one of the few reassurances not nearly talked about enough was the offensive play-calling that was executed in the preseason opener. From top to bottom, there were absolutely no concerns drawn from the preseason loss regarding that aspect of the game. Of course, that is expected from Payton however, it is definitely being underappreciated by the fanbase as the criticism continues to maintain focus on the starting offense's performance in the first half.
Diving into any kind of film from the game, you're immediately able to notice the difference in play concepts and utilization of play-action in just a preseason game compared to the film that was presented in any Broncos regular season game in 2022. Payton did an excellent job of setting QB Russell Wilson up for success and even proved to work, despite the slow start.
Wilson came out of the game 7/13 on his pass attempts, even with a few drops from his receivers and the offensive line allowing pressures every other play. It was widely noticeable across the offensive line how different Payton is using his tackles and guards as opposed to previous coaching staffs. The offensive line is more involved in creating a much wider pocket rather than a tight one allowing Wilson to freely use his legs to extend plays and even have a better view of the field. This way, it is much simpler for Wilson to move through his progressions and even escape the pocket for a nice scramble periodically. We even saw a beautiful offensive line protection concept that Wilson was able to take advantage of and step up to make a big-time throw to WR Courtland Sutton.
In Sean Payton's offense, it's often mentioned that it is an advanced scheme and sometimes difficult for younger players to pick up on but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the details. Every small fundamental from protection alignments, deep route trees, to even pre-snap motions, play a pivotal role in the execution of the offense and when it is done properly, Payton's offense looks like poetry in motion. Wilson even targeted the middle of the field on multiple occasions and more notably on his touchdown pass to WR Jerry Jeudy where the Cardinals were sending a heavy blitz. It is abundantly clear on film now that the knowledge of Sean Payton has already made an impact on Wilson's game and it could not be a more beautiful sight.
The offensive line did not look the best, especially the starting unit, however, this does not fall on the scheme or play-calling at all. That area will only improve with coaching. For the meantime, Broncos fans should sit back and truly realize they have one of the best offensive play-callers in the entire NFL. It has certainly been a while since that statement has been made in Denver.