Sean Payton surely didn't have this in mind when he decided to return to the NFL as a head coach. The Denver Broncos are 0-2, and though their point differential is only a field goal into the negative, they're one of five teams who, after Week 2's Sunday games, are below zero.
With the Miami Dolphins up next week, they've got an uphill battle to even get to 1-2.
Payton came in with fire and brimstone to try to repair what he felt was a damaged culture, but so far, it's not been enough.
With that, the veteran head coach is thinking of making a change with his QB, Russell Wilson that would sure feel like proverbial kid gloves for the proven signal caller.
Sean Payton wants Russell Wilson to use a wristband for play calling
Asked about how out of sync the offense was for the Broncos on Sunday, Payton lamented the performance of the offense, in particular, their timing in getting from the huddle to the line of scrimmage.
"It was more than just one drive. There (were) a number of drives where we're late with personnel, getting out of the huddle we took a while. I mean, that's gotta change. We had to burn timeouts in the first half (and) I'm not used to doing (that). We've gotta be better. I've gotta be better. Russ has gotta be sharper with getting the play out," Payton said.
He closed with a warning for Wilson if he doesn't shape up: "But, you know, if we need to wristband it, we will."
This might seem like a minor thing, a practical fix to a solution for a quarterback who is struggling to get his offense up to the line efficiently. There is history to consider here, though, particularly going back to Seattle when Pete Carroll was his coach.
Last year after Wilson's departure, Carroll said that there had been, "resistance," from Wilson to wearing a wristband, something new Seahawks QB Geeno Smith was having success with in 2022. It was viewed as a subtle dig at Wilson.
“If you notice, Geno’s going off the wristband, and that’s a big help. It’s smoothed things out, sped things up, cleaned things up. And that’s part of it, too. We never did that before. There was resistance to that, so we didn’t do that before.”
Asked about that comment from Carroll last year, Wilson suggested he was at least partially open to putting the wristband on:
“I don’t know exactly what he said, but I won a lot of games there without one on the wrist," Wilson said. "I didn’t know winning or losing mattered if you wore a wristband or not. We do whatever it takes to make sure that we’re rolling, moving and everything else. A few times, I definitely wore a wristband, depending on the game plan, what we had called, and all of that stuff.”
Before the year even began, Payton nixed some of Wilson's privileges in the Broncos building, like his private office and access for his personal, non-team employee trainers. Maybe the wristband is the next step for Payton to show Wilson who's boss while also fixing the inefficiency issues. Not having timeouts at the end of a close game could be the difference between winning and losing.
Wilson said it himself, though... He won a lot of games in Seattle without the wristband. All he has to do to keep the conversation of the wristband off the table is win something.
Easier said than done.