BRONCOS

Tony Romo thinks Sean Payton can get the best out of the Broncos’ next QB

Feb 7, 2024, 5:32 PM

LAS VEGAS — Few know better about how Sean Payton works with a quarterback than Tony Romo.

For three years in Dallas, Romo and Payton worked together. Romo was the undrafted rookie arriving in 2003. Payton was the offensive coordinator, joining Dallas after a 4-year stint with the New York Giants.

And one thing became clear to Romo then and remains so today:

“Well, I think Sean adjusts to his quarterback,” the NFL on CBS analyst said of his former coach.

That matters regarding the hindsight outlook regarding Russell Wilson. It’s also relevant as the Broncos and Sean Payton make their plan for the position and life beyond Wilson if they move on from the 12-year veteran quarterback — whether it’s by adding a draft pick, bringing in a veteran or both.

“I think the biggest thing for him — for any quarterback playing with Sean — is just immersing yourself in football,” Romo continued.

“And Sean’s going to get the best out of you. And sometimes your environment matters, right? Sean’s gonna adjust to whether he has good offensive linemen or not-good receivers.”

The evidence for Sean Payton getting the best from his quarterback goes back to his time in New Orleans, when fill-in Teddy Bridgewater and 2021 starter Jameis Winston both played the best football of their careers. Bridgewater’s 2019 stint was cut short by Drew Brees’ return to the lineup, although he parlayed that into a sizable contract and a starting job the following year in Carolina. Winston started seven games and posted a 14-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

If Payton can extract that from whoever flings passes for him this season, then the other areas in which the Broncos progressed last year will matter.

“Year one, I thought they really came on,” Romo said. “I thought he did an incredible job of really figuring out his own team. And I think you’re gonna see that improve next year.”

But doing that remains difficult in the AFC West minefield.

“Now, they’re in a really difficult division. You’ve got some of the greatest coaches ever. Andy Reid, Jim Harbaugh, now. Sean Payton. So, to me, it’s one of those where you could do everything right and still not win.

“But I think you’re gonna find very quickly that Sean will figure it all out.”

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