Payton: Webb ‘highly recommended’
Former QB played for Giants weeks ago, now 28-year-old is Broncos’ QBS coach
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,” 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.”
New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen had Webb on his roster this past year and was an assistant general manager in Buffalo when Webb signed there in 2019.
“He was unique in that he would be upstairs, hanging with our personnel department,” Schoen said Tuesday. “He was already a coach at the time, practically. He would take the practice squad guys down there, show them the film.
He played safety in Buffalo to give looks for (quarterback Josh Allen) as the scout team guy. He was already coaching. Super smart. I think that’s why he was able to go out and execute the way he did in that Eagles game.
“I love Davis, great guy, couldn’t be happier for him. He’s going to be a helluva coach. And even a better person. We’ve known he’s going to be a coach for a while now.”
Payton and the offensive staff are tasked with turning around a unit that has struggled overall 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.