Those of us who watched the Broncos and first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett struggle from afar last season held certain impressions of his fitness for the job, but in case there was any doubt let us turn our attention to the Broncos' new first-year head coach Sean Payton.
After Hackett was given just one season, a disastrous 5-12 campaign that included a significant regression from high-paid QB Russell Wilson, Payton was hired to clean up the mess and start over.
While Payton's crowning achievement (a Super Bowl title after the 2009 season) is forever tainted by the Bountygate scandal that directly touched the Vikings, there is no doubt that he is a far more accomplished coach.
He's also not afraid to stir things up — a sentiment that can backfire when, say, you mock a team's signature chant moments before the Minneapolis Miracle but that can work in the favor of those who crave conflict.
As I talked about on Friday's Daily Delivery podcast, Payton did a recent interview with USA Today in which he was brutally honest in his assessment of what he inherited from last year's Broncos regime.
The best quote, as far as I'm concerned: "Everybody's got a little stink on their hands. 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."
If coaching is a fraternity, Payton and Hackett clearly aren't living in the same house on the row. Payton had more to say about Hackett's offense, asserting that Wilson's problems were largely a reflection of coaching.
"They couldn't get a play in," he said. "They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball."
That is some stunning honesty from and about two coaches still very much active in the game. Hackett is now the offensive coordinator with the Jets, where he has been reunited with Aaron Rodgers. Just for good measure, Payton also hit the Jets with some of his frankness.
"It doesn't happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed," Payton said. "And that happened here. Part of it was their own fault, relative to spending so much ... time trying to win the offseason – the PR, the pomp and circumstance, marching people around and 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."
The Broncos and Jets play each other on Oct. 8, by the way.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Speaking of the Jets, is that were Dalvin Cook is headed?
*If you needed getting healthy players back is basically the same thing as making a trade to complete your 2023 Twins bingo card of offensive excuses, stand up and shout it out.
*It's a little disappointing to find out, at least according to Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, that the "Fleck Bank" is not a real thing with currency and coins. The mind really wanders when thinking about who would be on each bill, but alas no more.
*The Vikings' depth chart at corner is, um, concerning.