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Super Bowl Radio Row buzzing about new Broncos head coach

But feelings are mixed as to whether the Broncos' new head coach can return QB Russell Wilson back to form.

PHOENIX — There is good reason why Brandon Marshall – the linebacker, not the receiver – was the player chosen to call the signals for the iconic 2015 Denver defense that carried the Broncos to the Super Bowl 50 title.

He’s smart. He’s introspective. And he knows how to communicate in an easy-to-understand manner.

Even though a faulty knee prematurely halted his playing career after the 2018 season, Marshall has kept up with the Broncos. And he can’t believe his team – and he does consider Denver his team – has not made the postseason since that magical 2015 season.

“It’s been sad to see the head coach carousel, the quarterback carousel the organization has been on,’’ Marshall said here Wednesday in the midst of Radio Row at Super Bowl 57. “It’s been wild to see. A prestigious organization like the Broncos, you would think that we would be able to get a quarterback or a nice head coach. Hopefully, we’ve got one now. But we haven’t beat the Chiefs in what, seven years?”

That’s right, not since Marshall forced Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to fumble and Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby scooped and scored in the final seconds in Game 2 of the 2015 season has Denver triumphed against the Chiefs. Kansas City has won 15 in a row since then – 4-0 with Alex Smith as quarterback; 11-0 since Patrick Mahomes II took control of the league.

“That’s sad,’’ Marshall said of the losing streak to the Chiefs, who play the Eagles here this Sunday in the final NFL game of the season. “That’s crazy. There’s no way. It’s no longer a rivalry. It’s too lopsided. It’s still a rivalry but it’s very lopsided at this point.’’

So is that about to change with the Broncos' hiring of Sean Payton as head coach?

“Sean Payton, look, he’s a helluva head coach,’’ Marshall said. “He’s done it for a long time at a high level. He’s won a Super Bowl. I think he’s the guy for the job. Now, we gave up a lot for him. But if anybody can get Russell Wilson going, I think it’s him. If anybody can cater to Russell’s strengths, it’s him.

“I thought Russell didn’t move out of the pocket enough. I thought they didn’t get him on the move enough. Because what he did well was the play action, the bootlegs, different things like that.

“There’s a reason why Geno Smith made the Pro Bowl [this year for Seattle]. There’s a reason that his success was so great after Russell left. It almost makes you think: Is Russ a system quarterback?”

Super Bowl Radio Row is always a good place to catch up with current and old Broncos acquaintances. Jake Plummer, the former Arizona State, Arizona Cardinal and Denver Bronco swashbuckling quarterback, was here in part to market the health benefits of his UMBO mushroom product. He suggested Payton the new head coach still doesn’t equal the impact the current group of players will have on the Broncos' 2023 season.

“We see coaches are movable parts, so it comes down to players,’’ Plummer said. “Hopefully, leadership will allow them to take control this year. I’m excited to see what leaders step up in the offseason and not wait for the draft pick that’s going to be the one that changes things. Don’t wait for the free agent. Don’t wait for all this crazy knowledge that Sean Payton is bringing to us and now: Who are the leaders on this team who are demanding a different level of commitment and passion and dedication to work during the offseason? But also have some fun. Have some fun and bond as a team.

“I love coach Payton. I think he’s a brilliant offensive mind. I think a great football coach. I think he’ll build a great staff and hopefully put a little more impetus and ownership back on the players. Because we see coaches get fired and players stay, so hey players, step up.”

Former Bears and Lions quarterback Erik Kramer extolled the offensive virtues of the Broncos’ latest head coach hire but wonders if even Payton can fix what he saw from Wilson during a 19-16 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last Oct. 17 at SoFi Stadium.

“I’m a Chargers season ticket holder and I was at the Chargers-Broncos game where if I was a high school coach he would not have been the quarterback that day,” Kramer said.

Why is that?

“Well, because he was incredibly inaccurate,’’ Kramer said. “So for that guy to be that inaccurate, that didn’t make sense. It’s really the art of playing catch. It is an art. So we’ll see if Sean Payton and those two can get those things ironed out so he can be the Russell Wilson that he’s supposed to be.”

Alex Singleton, the Broncos’ leading tackler this season, said goodbye to his inside linebackers coach Peter Hansen this week. Hansen followed defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to Carolina.

On the Sean Payton hire, Singleton said: “I think it’s going to be huge. I think he’s going to assert himself.”

Does Singleton hope he’s in the Broncos’ locker room when Payton delivers his first team speech in April – or three weeks after the start of free agency?

“Oh yeah,’’ Singleton said. “I’ll let the GM [George Paton] and my agent [Paul Sheehy] get that done.”

Singleton indicated preliminary discussions have occurred but were tabled until Payton finishes hiring his coaching staff.

For the seventh consecutive year, Super Bowl week has gone on without the Broncos’ participation, although at least they have generated some positive buzz during the festivities with the hiring of Sean Payton.

“You can’t get a guy with better credentials,’’ Kramer said. “He’s built an offensive dynasty with New Orleans and why can’t he do the same in Denver?”



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