BRONCOS

Peyton Manning connects with Zach Wilson, believes Denver can be ‘a great chapter two’ for him

Apr 23, 2024, 8:08 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2024, 10:40 am

Peyton Manning thinks that Zach Wilson might have gotten exactly the change he needed when the Broncos traded for him this week.

“The change of scenario for Zach Wilson, I think, is going to be a good one,” Manning said to Josh Dover and Brandon Stokley during an on-air interview on Denver Sports.

In three years with the New York Jets, Wilson worked under two different coordinators. Mike LaFleur helmed the offense during the 2021 and 2022 seasons after coming with head coach Robert Saleh from the San Francisco 49ers’ staff. After the 2022 campaign, the Jets dismissed LaFleur — who moved on to Sean McVay’s staff in Los Angeles. Replacing LaFleur was former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

“The best way to really screw a young quarterback up is to change coordinators on him every single year, and it drives me crazy,” Manning said. “Look, I was very fortunate. I had an old-school coach named Tom Moore who was the coordinator the entire time I was there in Indianapolis.

“Tom Brady had different coordinators. Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels, Bill O’Brien. But it was the same system, right? (Bill) Belichick said, hey, we’re running the same exact system,” Manning continued. “So it’s the same language, right? It’s the same verbiage. You rep each play against different coverages, and you just learn those plays with the reps.”

Of course, Zach Wilson will need to learn a new scheme and nomenclature in Denver.

“Sean Payton has a unique system, not necessarily much carryover from any of the systems that Zach has been in,” Manning said. “So I think for Zach, I think a reboot actually is good.

“Let’s just sort of start over, right? And let’s just let Sean Payton and his staff coach you and kind of start from ground zero, which I think might be just what Zach needs.”

To that end, Manning believes that the Broncos’ head coach and offensive coordinator has a chance to tap into the potential that made Wilson a No. 2 overall pick three years ago.

“Look, I think it’s a great chapter two for Zach,” Manning said. “He will get coached hard here by Sean Payton and their staff; (it) is important for young quarterbacks to be coached hard. He’s obviously very talented.”

In the midst of the changes for Zach Wilson, Peyton Manning quickly reached out to the Broncos’ new quarterback.

“I’ve never met Zach, but I got his number [Monday] from the Broncos and reached out to him and welcomed him to Denver and was excited with this new chapter,” Manning said. “He sounds excited to be here, so hopefully it’ll be a good fit.”

The Broncos don’t start practicing and holding football meetings until next month, but they’re already in the midst of conditioning and weight-training work — which aids in the team-building process.

So, while there isn’t a huge urgency to arrive since scheme learning doesn’t start for a few weeks …

“The sooner Zach Wilson gets in here, the better,” Manning said.

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Peyton Manning connects with Zach Wilson, believes Denver can be ‘a great chapter two’ for him