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Sean Payton begins process of simplifying verbiage of play calls

An early-season issue has emerged for the Broncos, regarding the calling of plays on a timely basis.

Coach Sean Payton has addressed it multiple times since Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. He was asked about it again, during his Wednesday press conference.

Payton said that the process of streamlining the play calls in advance of Sunday’s game at Miami began on Tuesday.

“We did it last night when we put the plan together,” Payton said. “So, if a play [is] X Curl, Z Post, Y Shake, let’s call it [something different] and come up with code names that help do that. That was last night.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson, who reportedly resisted using a wristband while in Seattle, is using one. But not all plays are on it. That’s part of the adjustments Payton is making.

“We always have a wrist band,” Payton said. “There are certain plays that are going to be longer. I’ll say, ‘Russ, let’s run No. 2,’ or, ‘Let’s flip No. 2,’ on the left hash or right hash. In hindsight last week, there are probably four or five plays that would have been easier had they been wrist banded, but we can still reduce the verbiage.”

Payton said it wasn’t a problem until Week 2.

“Preseason was smooth, and then Week 1 was smooth,” he said. “We probably had too much with some of these plays. Looking back on it, that’s something we can correct on our end and be quicker. There’s that happy balance of getting it in fast, but also getting it called to the line. I’m sure we were a little bit heavy relative to the length of some of the plays.”

Many interpreted Payton’s comments to reflect a not-so-subtle dig at Wilson’s ability to hear the play call and to communicate it quickly. During Payton’s time with the Saints and Drew brees, that was never an issue.

Others viewed the situation as partial vindication of one-and-done coach Nathaniel Hackett, given that getting the plays communicated from the sideline to the quarterback to the rest of the offense was an issue throughout the season.

Here’s the biggest difference. Last year, it lingered. This year, Payton is trying to nip it in the bud.