Ending the 2023 season at the bottom of the AFC West table was not what anyone at the Denver Broncos had imagined would happen when the campaign started. This would have been especially true of the optimistic new owners who at the time, completed the most expensive purchase of a sports team in history during August 2022 when they took control of the franchise. So, are better times around the corner, and what has been holding the Broncos back?
The Broncos’ prospects in 2024
Concerningly, the latest American Football betting future odds suggest that this underwhelming run will carry into 2024.
At least, the Super Bowl betting odds for next season’s showpiece price the Broncos at +2500 to go all the way at the Allegiant Stadium in Nevada in February 2024. Those aren’t insurmountable odds by any means but they do indicate that there will be no quick fixes for the Denver franchise in the coming season. However, there is reason to believe that the Broncos may at least get off to a better start than they did last campaign.
The rationale behind this thinking comes down to the unprecedented and long injury list that the team had after only five games. Essentially, there was no foundation from which to build any momentum with the Broncos having to play catch-up from the very beginning. Ultimately, it proved too much for the team and saw them end 2022 with the fewest points scored in the NFL.
The Broncos turn to Payton
When 2023 was ushered in, the Broncos think tank had, unsurprisingly, been hard at work trying to devise a plan to make sure that when everyone was fit, a lack of offensive creativity didn’t plague them again. The answer was to hire Sean Payton as their coach for the new season in the hope that he can turn the ship around and significantly, also get the best out of faltering quarterback Russell Wilson.
While Payton’s appointment is a smart one, there are already signs that the 59-year-old and Wilson may clash over a difference of opinion. In particular, this comes down to Payton banishing Wilson’s personal quarterback coach from the team’s training facilities on the grounds that it was a ‘foreign’ idea to have external help.
It’s not hard to see where Payton is coming from but at the same time, adopting such an uncompromising attitude to Wilson’s preferred coaching style makes the quarterback look like high maintenance. Indeed, portraying your quarterback as a diva is not going to ensure that Denver finds the offensive rhythm needed to make the Super Bowl in 2024.
It’s a high-risk approach from Payton but he is known for his extremely effective man management that is structured on unwavering discipline. Furthermore, it’s a proven formula as Payton won the Super Bowl XLIV when he was coaching the New Orleans Saints.
How quickly will on-filed change be forthcoming?
Will it work in Denver? As touched on, the future prices for the upcoming season suggest that positive change will only be incremental. The more optimistic fan might say that if the Broncos begin the season on the right footing, then Payton has the required expertise to ensure the team climbs into the playoffs. Whatever the eventual outcome, patience is wearing incredibly thin in Denver and results will have to be forthcoming after a disastrous campaign.