The New York Jets caught some strays from Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton
Payton was chastising the hysteria around the Broncos’ 2022 offseason and insisted the team is prepared to “just put the work in” this time around. In the midst of doing so, he compared the “pomp and circumstance” of Denver’s 2022 offseason to the Jets’ 2023 offseason – even going so far as to predict the Jets will disappoint this year.
“It doesn’t happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed. And that happened here,” Payton said of the 2022 Broncos. “Part of it was their own fault, relative to spending so much (expletive) time trying to win the offseason – the PR, the pomp and circumstance, marching people around all this stuff.
“We’re not doing any of that. The Jets did that this year. You watch. ‘Hard Knocks,’ all of it. I can see it coming. Remember when (former Washington owner) Dan Snyder put that Dream Team together? I was at the Giants (in 2000). I was a young coach. I thought, ‘How are we going to compete with them? Deion’s (Sanders) there now.’ That team won eight games or whatever. So, listen… just put the work in.”
Payton compared the Jets to the 2000 Washington Redskins team. That Washington squad entered the season with high expectations after adding a multitude of big-name veteran stars, including DE Bruce Smith, CB Deion Sanders, and FS Mark Carrier. Expectations were not met as Washington finished 8-8 and missed the postseason.
I understand where Payton is coming from – he’s correct to say that distractions and noise can hurt a team – but some of his criticisms of the Jets seem off-base. The Jets adamantly opposed Hard Knocks, so it’s not as if they are eagerly seeking the spotlight.
Plus, comparing this Jets team to the 2000 Washington team feels like an apples-to-oranges comparison. New York’s hype is based on the addition of a future Hall of Fame quarterback to complement a strong young core. Washington’s hype was based on the addition of household-name defensive players who were already well into their thirties.
Washington was counting on past-their-prime stars to improve a defense that ranked 24th in points allowed during the previous season. New York’s defensive situation is far different. The Jets are bringing back all of the young/in-their-prime players who just led the team to fourth-best in points allowed. Not to mention, the quarterback situation is night and day. Brad Johnson may have been coming off a Pro Bowl appearance in 2000, but he was no Aaron Rodgers.
Payton also took a direct shot at the coaching job of now-Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
“It’s not just Russell. It was a (poor) offensive line. It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. That’s how bad it was.”
Hackett and the Jets will get a chance to make Payton eat his words when they take a trip to Denver in Week 5. Payton owns a 3-1 record against the Jets as a head coach, with New York’s lone win coming in 2013.