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From helmet to whistle: Davis Webb, Chris Banjo to make immediate transition from 2022 player to 2023 Broncos coach

Sean Payton has taken a diversified approach to building his first Broncos coaching staff

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Not until his first coaching staff was nearly completed, did Sean Payton's plan come into focus

There is an abundance of experience on the defensive (coordinator Vance Joseph, linebackers coach Greg Manusky) and special teams (Mike Westhoff, Ben Kotwica) coaching staffs.

With Payton's roots and expertise in offense, he went young (offensive line coach Zach Strief, tight ends coach Declan Doyle, receivers coach Keary Colbert) on that side of the ball where he will have the ability to mold his coaches in his own offensive image.

But perhaps, the most eclectic planned hirings by Payton were in pulling Davis Webb and Chris Banjo right off the playing field and placing them directly on the sideline.

Credit: Noah K. Murray
New York Giants quarterback Davis Webb (5) runs from Cleveland Browns defensive end Nate Orchard (44) and defensive end Chris Smith (50) during first half at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Webb, who as a junior quarterback at Texas Tech in 2014, started ahead of a freshman named Patrick Mahomes II and was a third-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2017 draft. He never played, though, until a mop-up game with Buffalo in 2021, before he made his NFL starting debut in the 2022 regular-season finale for the Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Webb played well, rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 168 yards and a touchdown in a 22-16 loss. That was Jan. 8.

Seven weeks later, Webb was interviewing with Payton at the Broncos' UCHealth Training Center headquarters Thursday and it went so well he was hired as the team's quarterbacks' coach. The Broncos offense will be led by Sean Payton, who will call plays, and Joe Lombardi, who will serve in an offensive coordinator-type role even if his title may be tweaked.

Webb, who turned 28 last month, is six years younger than Russell Wilson, the Broncos quarterback he will coach this year.

New Orleans Saints cornerback Chris Banjo (31) celebrates after a defensive stop against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Then there's Chris Banjo, a 10-year special teams standout and backup defensive back. He played those roles for Payton's New Orleans Saints in 2017-18 and the past four years for the Arizona Cardinals, where Vance Joseph was his defensive coordinator. Joseph was hired Thursday morning by Payton to become the Broncos' new defensive coordinator.

Banjo, who will turn 33 on Sunday, was waived as a player Thursday by the Cardinals, a transaction that frees him up to begin his coaching transition with the Broncos as assistant special teams coach.

In the end, it all made sense. Proven to be one of the best offensive game planners and play callers of the past generation, Payton hired experienced teachers to handle the defense and special teams units.

Payton will take care of the offense while he teaches his young coaches along the way. And to make sure he has the pulse of the locker room after taking the last year away from coaching, Payton is bringing in two players off the field to help bridge the connection to the coaches' box.

Payton and his newly assembled coaching staff will travel Monday to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.



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