Sean Payton impressed with Broncos’ 28-year-old QB coach Davis Webb
INDIANAPOLIS — On Jan. 8, Davis Webb threw 40 passes for the New York Giants in a Week 18 loss to Philadelphia.
Less than two months later, he’s set to be a key part of the Russell Wilson revitalization project in Denver as the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach.
Webb at 28 is a full six years younger than the quarterback he’ll be coaching, but head coach Sean Payton on Tuesday said he thinks he found the right guy to work with Wilson and the rest of the Broncos quarterbacks.
“Davis, he came highly recommended from a bunch of different coaches,” Payton said at NFL Scouting Combine. “(Giants head coach) Brian Daboll, Eli Manning, I spoke to a number of people and I kept hearing the same things about him. … I didn’t know Davis. I remember him as a player but I didn’t know him at all.”
Payton himself, of course, will also be instrumental in the offensive plan and in coaching Wilson. So, too, will offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and passing game coordinator John Morton, both of whom have extensive experience working with Payton. Lombardi, for example, has 12 years total with Payton over two different stints in New Orleans, including 10 years coaching quarterbacks.
Payton officially named Lombardi as the coordinator over the weekend, but said he’s known essentially since he got to Denver that Lombardi would be on his staff in some capacity.
“I didn’t know if he was going to play bass guitar or drums,” Payton said. “I didn’t know his role yet, but I knew he was coming.”
In that regard, hiring Webb is a move Payton sees as having an upside given his potential and all of the institutional knowledge around him.
“He’s a coach’s kid, Davis is,” Payton said. “He had a file on his computer of every game plan he’s ever had since he was in high school and then college, Texas Tech, and then (Patrick) Mahomes comes in and he transfers. It was pretty impressive. The fit for us, too, specifically with that room, I think will be good.”
General manager George Paton concurred.
“I think I interviewed him (in 2017 when he was) coming out for the draft, but I didn’t know a lot about him,” Paton said. “I knew he played this year a little bit. People kept bringing his name up to us. We brought him in and he walks in the room and he lights up the room.
“When you start talking football with him, he’s poised beyond his years and he’s wise beyond his years. Just great football knowledge. I sat in there with Davis and the offensive staff and he blew them away. He’s 28 years old, but he’s really bright and he’s played. He’s really been a coach on the field since he’s been in the league. … Really excited about the hire.”
Payton and the offensive staff are tasked with turning around a unit that has struggled overall essentially since Peyton Manning retired. More acutely, they must collectively help Wilson get past the worst season of his career and back to, if not his peak level of play, then at least a substantially better place.
“We’re looking forward to the start of the season,” said Payton, who can begin the voluntary portion of the offseason program in early April. “Certainly, for Russell’s standards — and for the Broncos’ standards — it wasn’t the type of year that they wanted. And, typically, that’s why new head coaches arrive. We have a lot of work ahead of us right now. We’re just kind of getting started. This is, obviously, an important process.
“We are close to finishing the staff hirings. And then when the time comes, when our offseason program begins, then we’ll get a little bit more closely involved into how we see these roles unfolding for coaches and for players.”
Webb isn’t Payton’s only hire transitioning directly from the playing field. So, too, is assistant special teams coach Chris Banjo, who appeared in 13 games for Arizona in 2022. Payton said he was sitting in his hotel going through people who had played for him and called Banjo mostly out of the blue to see if he was ready to start coaching. Sure enough, he was.
Similar to Webb on the offensive side, the 33-year-old Banjo has veterans around him on the special teams staff in coordinator Ben Kotwica and assistant head coach Mike Westhoff.
This is the general complexion of Payton’s first Denver staff — he said they have a couple of defensive spots still to fill, perhaps one with Matt Patricia, whom he’s interviewing again this week — blending young coaches with a handful that have decades of experience.
“(Bill) Parcells wanted to be around younger coaches, he talked about it all the time, and I like being around younger coaches now,” Payton, 59, said. “I still consider myself a younger coach, but then I sit in the room and listen to these young coaches that I enjoy and you get energized. Then you have some experience, there’s a little bit of everything. There wasn’t any design, it was just about finding the right people. …
“Each step of the way, there’s been a vision of, what does this ingredient bring to the recipe? That’s the unique thing of putting together a staff and of really trying to anticipate how the room will interact.”
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