Klatt: How Sean Payton helped Drew Brees can work with Russell Wilson

Feb 1, 2023, 10:25 AM

Former Saints QB Drew Brees had a Hall of Fame career under his old head coach Sean Payton.

The two won a Super Bowl together and made the playoffs seemingly every year. Brees set numerous NFL records under Payton’s guidance and became one of the most statistically prolific quarterbacks of all-time.

Can Payton help Russell Wilson find new hope in Denver? That’s the plan.

FOX Sports analyst and former CU QB Joel Klatt joined “Schlereth and Evans” on 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday morning to discuss. The Broncos traded for Payton on Tuesday, and his No. 1 goal has to be fixing Wilson. That can start by installing the correct system.

“There’s been some speculation that Russ looks at Drew and says ‘that’s the type of career that I want to have.’ Sean runs a hybrid West Coast system, and they were so good at nitpicking defenses and allowing Drew to mentally shred the defense and gaining advantages in the short areas and intermediate areas,” Klatt said.

Rather than ‘Letting Russ Cook,’ it sounds like Payton can design a system that allows Wilson to gain positive yards every play. That was a huge problem in 2022, as it felt like under Nathaniel Hackett that Wilson and the Broncos were constantly facing third-and-long.

“It wasn’t necessarily just launching the ball down the field. (Brees) didn’t have to have the strongest arm, he just needed to be smart and accurate and throw on time. I think Russ can do that. I think what’s going to help is Sean built the entire system around Drew. And Drew improved. He became such a better player under Sean Payton and that New Orleans system, and I think the same will happen with Russ, I really do,” Klatt said.

That has to be encouraging for Broncos fans, because Wilson’s arm strength has also declined, but Klatt is saying that doesn’t matter. Payton made it work with Brees and will do the same here in Denver.

“Russ is a talented guy, right? I don’t know what happened this year. I understand it didn’t work, something was awry. But now there’s a guy there that understands what he’s doing in Sean Payton and I think that he will build a system that allows Russ to flourish. See what he’s going to do well then build a system around that,” Klatt said.

And to do that, Payton will need to adjust to Wilson’s strengths. That shouldn’t be an issue, because that’s what top coaches do. And despite some tough postseason losses over the years, Payton has proved to be just that.

“The best coaches in this sport, they don’t talk about what a player can’t do, they talk about what a player can do. And then they build systems and habits around the things the players can do,” Klatt said. “I think that’s what allowed New Orleans to have success and that’s hopefully what’s going to allow Denver to have success.”

To listen to full episodes of “Schlereth and Evans,” click here.



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