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Sean Payton’s Orphan Dogs Comment Was Not Accidental, Offers NFL Insider

Ayush Juneja

With Bill Belichick's Retirement, Sean Payton, Who Earns $18 Million Annually, Becomes the Highest Paid Coach in US Sports

From how it transpired, it looks like ever since Sean Payton stepped foot in the Dove Valley, he wanted Russell Wilson out of Denver. Wilson’s departure allowed the former Saints coach to bring in QBs he can mould as per his system and will succeed in the culture he intends to create. Now three QBs are in that room, and surprisingly, Payton’s first words about them as a collective contain the phrase, “orphan dogs.”

And despite popular belief that he just said what came to his mind, Ian Rappaport doesn’t feel Payton accidentally compare his play-callers to domestic canines. As per Rappaport’s post on X, he believes Payton’s comments highlighted the fact he wants to create a culture with the Broncos and instil a sense of belief in his shot-callers and the rest of the squad.

This thinking is reflected in his QB room. Jarrett Stidham, Bo Nix, and Zach Wilson are all QBs who came from different places but are functioning well at the Broncos so far. Despite being in the league for 5 years, Stidham has never been a starter. Zach Wilson didn’t have a good time in New York and Rappaport pointed out not a lot of teams wanted him.

Nix, the last quarterback picked in the first round was projected as a 2nd round pick by many. Payton is motivating all three by highlighting what people feel about them. Rapoport said,

“Sean Payton doesn’t do anything by accident. The fact that he called these guys ‘Orphan Dogs’ certainly didn’t just pop into his head at the press conference. Seems to me like tone-setting. He is one of the better coaches around as far as building culture and getting guys in the locker room to believe. That’s what QB really is. It’s a couple of guys nobody wanted.”


The label seemed distasteful to many who felt that Sean could have used better words than saying the words that just came into his head.  But overall, fans had a mixed reaction to Payton’s tagging his QBs as Orphan Dogs.

NFL World Reacts to Sean Payton’s Orphan Dogs Comment

Some fans asserted that it’s good that he is reminding his QBs about people’s perceptions of them and his statement seems edgy but holds true. That Broncos QB room has no big names. But then others weren’t convinced by the idea that Payton was trying to build a culture and stated that the former Saints coach has always been like this:

Others think that the culture part might not be that big a reason:

And another social media user pointed out a unique observation about the head coach:

Even Zach Wilson responded to the comments:

It seems like in his weird way Sean Payton is trying to build a culture in Denver. He has even banned the filming of their OTAs. Fans are finding it next to impossible to get information about the Broncos players’ injuries and contract disputes on social media.

As for who will be his QB1 and the ‘ultimate orphan dog’, the OTAs will decide. While both Stidham and Zach Wilson have NFL experience, we are not sure it’s a positive thing in their favour. Nix is an unknown quantity but comes with a wealth of college experience having played a record-breaking 61 games. Bo has qualities that make him perfect for Payton’s system. Time will tell who gets the top job in Denver.

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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