New Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton criticizes the team’s former coach and staff.

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton looks on during an NFL football training camp session at the team's headquarters Thursday, July 27, 2023, in Centennial Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)David Zalubowski/AP

Sean Payton, the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, told USA Today that the team’s previous coach and staff did “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” This was a rare criticism of the team’s previous coach and staff.

Payton was hired by the Broncos this offseason. He spoke out about former head coach Nathaniel Hackett and other people. The team fired Hackett after he led them to a 4-11 record last season.

The 59-year-old Payton didn’t hold back when he talked about how upset he was with how the team’s former coaches treated quarterback Russell Wilson last season.

Payton told USA Today on Thursday, “There are 20 dirty hands because of what was allowed and tolerated in the fricking training rooms and meeting rooms.”

“I’ve never met Hackett. A lot of people’s hands were dirty. He wasn’t the only one. He didn’t just turn around. He still has it. This nonsense about him hitting a wall? They couldn’t even make a play. They had the 29th most pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball in the league.

Wilson, who has been to the Pro Bowl nine times and won Super Bowl XLVIII, had the worst season of his career in his first year in Denver. He had 16 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and only 3,524 passing yards.

FILE - Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) takes part in drills during a mandatory NFL football minicamp at the Broncos' headquarters Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Centennial, Colo. Sean Payton is back on the sideline and this time it's in Denver. The former Saints head coach was hired after spending a year in the broadcast booth. His task is to replicate the success he had with Drew Brees in New Orleans by resurrecting Russell Wilson's career. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)David Zalubowski/AP

“That was because the parents let it happen,” Payton said. “That doesn’t hurt him, but it hurts the head coach, the general manager, the president, and everyone else who saw it all happen.”

CNN has asked the Broncos what they have to say about it.

The sharp comments Payton made about a fellow NFL coach are rare among the league’s coaches.

He took a shot at Hackett’s new team, the New York Jets, who hired him this offseason as their offensive coordinator. The Jets had a big offseason after trading for four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. They were recently chosen to be in the HBO and NFL Films docuseries “Hard Knocks.”

Even though the Jets have made some big moves, and there has been a lot of talk about them in the media, Payton thinks the team won’t live up to the hype.

Payton said, “We won’t do any of that.” “This year, the Jets did that. You look. All of “Hard Knocks.” I can predict it.”

Jets head coach Robert Saleh talked about the comments when he talked to reporters at training camp on Thursday. Saleh said that Payton can say “whatever the hell he wants.”

“There’s a saying I try to live by: ‘If you don’t have haters, you’re not popping.’ So stop being hateful,” Saleh said. “If you have to talk about us when we don’t play you until week 4, we must be doing something right, and I’m fine with that. The guys in the locker room deserve everything happening to them and are very happy about it.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh speaks to members of the media after practice at the NFL football team's training facility, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)John Minchillo/AP

In week 5, the Jets are set to play the Broncos in Denver.

Saleh also said that Hackett’s work so far for the Jets has been “phenomenal.”

“Our attention is on us. I get it; there is a lot of noise from the outside and many people who don’t like us. “A lot of people are waiting for us to fail,” Saleh said. “There are a lot of crows pecking at our neck, but all you can do is spread your wings and keep flying high until those crows fall off and can’t breathe.”

Payton has been the coach of the New Orleans Saints for 15 years. He has had a lot of success in the NFL. He took the team to the playoffs nine times, and in 2010, he won the Super Bowl.

Payton quit as head coach in New Orleans after the 2021 season and worked as a broadcaster the next year. After a bad 5-12 season, the Broncos hired him in February.

A league investigation found that the Saints had an “active bounty program” during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. In 2012, Payton was suspended without pay for the whole NFL season. Players get “bounty” money if they hit an opponent hard enough to hurt or knock them out of the game.

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