MILE HIGH MONDAY

A culture change is coming for the Broncos under Sean Payton

Feb 6, 2023, 6:35 AM

The Denver Broncos have a new head coach, and I couldn’t be happier with the hire of Sean Payton. He was my “pipe dream” choice for the Broncos, much like Deion Sanders was a “pipe dream” choice for me with the Colorado Buffaloes. I fell out of love with the idea of Payton due to the draft capital that had to be surrendered, but now that the deal is done, I’m happy.

I like the direction the Broncos are headed in. Payton instantly makes the Broncos contenders, and I hope they can return to the postseason soon.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

Culture Change

Payton is going to bring back the winning culture of the Broncos. More than the Xs and Os of being a head coach, I think the culture change Payton is bringing is the most important part of his hiring. Payton has a strong personality, and there is a vision which will be implemented in his era of the Broncos. The people I talk to around the league believe in Payton’s ability to bring everyone to his level that makes him special.

Winning is contagious, and Payton should get the Broncos back to the way things have mostly been around here since the mid-80s. The last six years have been the worst in franchise history, but Payton brings with him Super Bowl experience and a way to get things done. Payton is a coach who is known to connect with his players, but he’s not a pushover. He expects a lot from his players, just as he expects a lot from himself.

The Broncos have lost their way. Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Nathaniel Hackett did not bring the culture with them that Payton does. Going from three, first-time head coaches to a head coach with championship experience is a huge step in the right direction. Payton has seen it all, and he’s won it all, so he’ll know what to look for and what to craft with his new team.

I’m excited about Payton running the team. The system he’ll bring to Denver will get the most out of the players on offense. However, it’s the standard of Broncos football that I’ve seen most of my life that should return triumphantly to the Mile High City – and that should excite everyone.

***

All About Value

We are less than a week away from the Super Bowl, but it’s never too early to start thinking about fantasy football for the 2023 season. I’m knee deep in draft preparation, and I’m going over college football coach’s tape daily putting together my draft profiles. It’s a yearly tradition I look forward to, and I look forward to seeing what free agency brings around the league as players change teams. All this work feeds into what I do as a fantasy football analyst, and there’s a situation in Denver which could pay off in a big way in 2023.

A lot has been made about QB Russell Wilson’s future with the Broncos. Payton is going to connect with Wilson, and the two are already on friendly terms. However, unlike Hackett, Payton isn’t going to let Wilson go out on the field without a proper game plan. Instead, Payton’s system will be structured around what Wilson can do. We saw that with the New Orleans Saints and when Payton had to win games with the likes of Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, or Jameis Winston.

That makes Wilson a value pick for Fantasy Football GMs this next season. Sure, drafting in Denver is going to be tough because Broncos fans will draft him too high (along with all the other players on Denver’s roster). However, most of us play in plenty of leagues around the nation (and the globe!) where Wilson could provide incredible value. Most are not going to be thinking much about Wilson based on his terrible 2022 season. That means Wilson can be had as a late-round pick in your fantasy draft, and looking over what could happen I think it’s an easy call to say that he outperforms his ADP (average draft position).

Wilson has a real chance to pay off in a big way for those who take a chance on him in their fantasy leagues. Making a pick like Wilson is the type of selection that can win your league. Most early-round picks wash each other out – and some completely bust. It’s the late-round picks like Wilson that can make-or-break your fantasy season. If he works out, you look like a genius. If he doesn’t, then you spent a late-round pick on him and can cut him with ease. It’s a win-win situation from a fantasy standpoint.

***

Wish Things Could Have Been Different

The Broncos offense should be much better under Payton, while their defense is going to be led by a new coach in 2023. Over the weekend, it was announced that former Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was signing with the Carolina Panthers. It’s a lateral move for Evero as he will run the Panthers’ defense under new head coach Frank Reich.

Evero’s defense was the lone bright spot for the Broncos in 2022 – or at least it seemed like that as the offense struggled to do much of anything. I thought Evero had a great scheme for his players, and I know the players on defense absolutely loved him. He’s a great communicator, and Evero knows how to connect with the modern player.

The best thing Evero did in my humble opinion was keeping the team from fracturing like they had in years past when the defense was great, and the offense was horrible. I’ve been around the locker room when it’s uncomfortably clear how much the defense despises the offense. Evero did a good job of keeping his players focused on what they needed to do while supporting their teammates on the offensive side. Evero was not driving the two sides apart, unlike other coordinators who have come through town, and I give him kudos for that.

I wish things could have been different with Evero. I know he’s going to be a head coach someday soon, and he should be a damn good one. He wanted a fresh start, and the Broncos granted him the ability to go elsewhere. Unlike other defensive coordinators who have left Denver because of bad defenses or other controversies, Evero has done an incredible job and is a riser in coaching circles.

***

Lifelong Passion

The old saying goes, “find what you love, and do what you love.” As I go through life, I’m so happy that I was able to make football my career. I’ve loved this game since I pretended to be Walter Payton as a kid growing up in the 80s. To be able to travel, scout players, talk to coaches, and talk about this game is a dream come true.

I often hear from people who ask, “how can I do what you do?” To me, the answer is simple (although the process is difficult); just go for it. Start a podcast, start writing a blog, interact with reporters on Twitter – and most of all be kind. It’s the generative principle, bring your thoughts into the physical world through action. Have confidence, (did I mention be kind?) and see what the future has in store for you.

This is how I feel starting a comic book company. I wanted to be a comic book artist growing up, but a lack of confidence caused me to waste time until I finally broke into radio 20 years ago. This year, I’m going for it with my company. It’s fun, nerve-wracking at times, but such a joy because writing and drawing is what I love – just like I love watching and talking about football. The recipe for success is the same, regardless of the industry you’re in. I have just started to build my company, but I am so appreciative that my first Kickstarter – for the comic “Fake Boos” – was fully funded in just two weeks. What else is next? I’m excited to find out – but first comes the work, and it doesn’t feel like work because it’s a passion.

What’s your biggest passion in life? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

***

Mile High Monday

Jayden Daniels...

Cecil Lammey

Is Jayden Daniels to the Broncos a realistic possibility?

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback could slip a bit in the draft, making it realistic that the Broncos could land the playmaker

3 days ago

Sean Payton Broncos Super Bowl odds...

Cecil Lammey

The Broncos need to be the Sean Payton show during the draft

Forget about compromise; the Broncos need to follow the lead of their head coach during the draft, being aggressive to get who they want

10 days ago

Bo Nix Broncos mock draft...

Cecil Lammey

Bo Nix is a perfect fit with the Broncos and Sean Payton’s offense

The Oregon quarterback might not excite the fan base, but he's a player who can execute Denver's offense to perfection and find success

17 days ago

Jared Wiley...

Cecil Lammey

The Broncos can solve their tight end need with a mid-round pick

While the talk centers around Brock Bowers at No. 12, there's a talented day-two or day-three tight end who could help the Broncos

25 days ago

Jarrett Stidham...

Cecil Lammey

The Broncos can’t be serious about going with Jarrett Stidham

After getting a glimpse of the QB as the starter at the end of last season, the Broncos can't possibly seem him as this season's starter

1 month ago

J.J. McCarthy...

Cecil Lammey

Broncos don’t pursue Fields, seem set on a certain college QB

The Broncos haven't signed a free-agent QB and they didn't take a flyer on Justin Fields, as they seem to be locked on a rookie processor

1 month ago

A culture change is coming for the Broncos under Sean Payton