Are The Broncos Worried About Russell Wilson’s Slow Start?

Russell Wilson

One of the blockbuster moves of the NFL offseason was the Denver Broncos trading for nine-time Pro-Bowler Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. Since Peyton Manning retired after the franchise’s last Super Bowl victory, Denver has been searching for an answer at that position and took matters into their own hands by landing one of this generation’s premier passers.

The transaction was supposed to solve a lot of issues for the Broncos, who have put together solid rosters over the past several seasons but have not been competitive due to their shortcomings at the game’s most important position. Wilson’s veteran leadership and poise would help a younger team thrive in primetime matchups against the NFL’s best.

There were a lot of fans who felt great about Denver’s chances to make the playoffs and advance a few rounds, who likely placed wagers on before the season ever started. While there is still a lot of time left in the regular season, Broncos enthusiasts have to be a little bit worried about how things have unfolded so far.

Let’s take a look at the Broncos to see whether they are actually concerned with Wilson’s play, or whether they should be looking elsewhere to improve around the former Super Bowl champion.


Throughout his entire 10 year career with the Seahawks, Russell Wilson only ever played for one head coach. Pete Carroll and Wilson got to know each other extremely well during that time, and the comfort level between two of the most important figures in any NFL building allowed Seattle to have a sustained run of success in the last decade. Although he is now 71 years old, Carroll has established himself as one of the greatest motivators in the last couple decades.

Wilson left the stability of Carroll in Seattle to join the uncertainty in Denver surrounding first time head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett has a lot of experience as an offensive coordinator in the NFL but has had some head scratching moments as the leader of the Broncos. Perhaps these gaffes are just growing pains he will overcome, but the lack of sharpness on the sidelines cannot be blamed on Wilson.

For example, in the team’s first game against Seattle(ironically), Hackett decided to settle for a long field goal that had almost no chance of being converted—rather than trust Wilson to convert on fourth down. Additionally, there have been other decisions that have cost Denver precious time at the end of halves and games.

Hackett actually hired a consultant in order to help smooth over gameday operations.


The Broncos have had some unfortunate injury luck in the early part of the season that has made it difficult for Wilson and the offense to find their groove. Talented third year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has missed some time with various ailments, which has forced Wilson to hone in on Courtland Sutton as the only reliable option. During training camp, wide receiver Tim Patrick went down for the season with a torn ACL.

Denver will have to overcome the loss of additional talent being unavailable due to injury, as Javonte Williams will also miss the rest of the 2022 campaign due to a torn ACL. Williams was being relied upon to take a huge step forward in his second NFL season by establishing a running game to promote the threat of the play action passing game.

Every NFL team deals with injuries at some point during the season, so this comes as no excuse for Wilson or anyone else on the Broncos. However, his ability to get guys to be in the right spot will be questioned as new players step into roles vacated by those who got hurt.

Wilson’s Positive Moments and Shaky Moments

Wilson’s performance for Denver hasn’t been all bad, as there have been flashes of the star player NFL fans have come to know and love in Seattle. He played pretty well in a game against the Las Vegas Raiders and made a vintage play hanging in the pocket on a touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton early in that contest.

However, he has also been subpar in a couple of other contests, including a three game stretch to open the season where Denver scored 16, 16 and 11 points respectively. Denver fans were hoping to see a little more out of Wilson against the Houston Texans in Week 2, and for a little magic to appear against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.

Ultimately, Wilson may not be the same player he was in Seattle, but he should still be much better than what Denver had under center the last few years. He will likely closely resemble his former self in a few weeks as he learns his new teammates and a new offense.

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