Who is the Broncos' offensive X-factor? The answer might be a surprise

The Denver Broncos were the lowest-scoring team in the NFL in 2022. Who is going to provide a spark?

Jun 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton attends game five of the
Jun 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton attends game five of the / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For many years, the offense in Denver has left much to be desired. Since winning Super Bowl 50 and going on an historic playoff drought for a defending champion, the defense for the Broncos has not been bad. The team just gets no offensive support and the scoreboard does not get lit up nearly enough.

Last season, the team averaged just 16.9 points per game and the unit was somehow worse with Russell Wilson than it was with either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock.

So who should be the key factor in turning that around? If you said new head coach Sean Payton, you would be in agreement with Jared Dubin of CBS Sports, who selected an offensive X-factor for all 32 teams.

But that is a take that makes sense. Payton was brought in for several reasons and his experience in the league combined with his success in that time was at the top of that list. But his offensive mind and the perceived notion that he can turn Wilson in the other direction will be what this season is measured on.

Wilson was bad with the Broncos. So bad, that some are wondering how good he ever was in Seattle and if he still has anything left. If he doesn't, the Broncos may be eating a lot of dead cap money next offseason and turning to someone else.

But if there is anything left in there, it's Payton that can find it.

Payton has designed this year's offense to feature the run by bringing in noted run blockers Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey. He also signed a blocking tight end in Chris Manhertz and a fullback in Michael Burton. All of those players point to the Broncos featuring an attack designed to take some of the pressure off of Wilson.

How Payton orchestrates all of that and finds a way to get the Broncos to be more potent in terms of offensive output is going to be the key to this season.

The Broncos were one of eight teams with a non-player to be their offensive X-factor, according to Dubin, but the Broncos are in good hands there as Cody Benjamin, also of CBS, ranked him as the No. 8 coach in the entire league.

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