BRONCOS

Russ-O-Meter: Who ends up being the best QB in the Wilson trade?

Nov 29, 2022, 6:38 AM
Russell Wilson...
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos offense was as bad as it’s been this season, this past Sunday in Carolina. And while the 10-point score doesn’t make it the low mark, it was only a late-game touchdown that saved the blue and orange from their lowest output.

Now the Russell Wilson-led is down to about 14 points per game and is the lowest-scoring team in the NFL since the 2000 Cleveland Browns. It’s about as bad as it could get on this side of the ball, and there are signs the defense is falling apart, and players may be quitting a little bit which means even less time for Wilson to work. We saw this in the 23-10 loss to Carolina, where the Panthers out-possessed the Broncos by 14 minutes.

In the weekly “Russ-O-Meter,” we’ll grade and cover what’s gone on in the wide world of Wilson this week. The meter represents how psyched Broncos Country is with Russell.

Meter: 1 (3)

Stat line: 19-for-35 passing, 142 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 2 carries, 8 rushing yards, 0 TD, 3 sacks for 17 yards, 29.1 QBR, 73.8 Passer Rating

The change from Nathaniel Hackett to Klint Kubiak in play-calling made Wilson look a bit better against the Raiders, but it turns out that might be due to Las Vegas having the worst defense in the league. The Broncos came out flat, and the change of play callers did little help.

Wilson did find the end zone after several straight red zone plays at the game’s end. He has only scored four touchdowns since and including Week 5. His lack of an interception is looks worse by the fact he had a fumble. Wilson actually completed the same number of passes as opposing gunslinger Sam Darnold threw in the game. Which shows how conservatively other teams are playing—knowing Denver’s offense isn’t beating anyone.

Wilson’s once-creative scrambling appears to be a thing of the past; he hasn’t had more than 29 yards in a game this season.

Wilson was without Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler in the game. With Melvin Gordon cut, Javonte Williams and Tim Patrick injured for the year, where are Wilson’s weapons? This past Sunday, they were a lot of undrafted players. The offensive line has been injured most of the season, and it’s not looking like the orange and blue’s offense will be revitalized soon.

With each passing week, it becomes closer to declarative that Russ is cooked. There have been some signs of life, and he deserves the benefit of the doubt of a terrible rookie head coach.

Denver is back on the road at Baltimore next Sunday, and the Broncos no longer have ‘easy’ opponents on the schedule. By beating the Panthers and Raiders, the Broncos have moved up in the draft order and would select fourth, but Denver does not own their own selection. The draft pick was sent to Seattle in the trade for Wilson.

Of course, the trade involved former Broncos starting quarterback Drew Lock, who is backing up Wilson’s former backup Geno Smith in Seattle. Lock, while not great, never led an offense quite this terrible in Denver. Still, nobody is shading Wilson’s terrific past. But it is worth considering, as the Broncos will only face two more foes who are below .500; what if this pick that the Broncos send to Seattle ends up being a top-two selection.

Smith is a free agent at season’s end, and Alabama’s Bryce Young is right there, as is Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. An elite signal-calling prospect could very well end up a Seahawk. What if Wilson isn’t the best quarterback in the “Russell Wilson Trade” what if we haven’t even seen that quarterback take an NFL snap yet?

Between the dead cap for offing Russ, the lack of assets in the draft, what’s around Wilson, and what’s been sent to Seattle, the Broncos are in a world of hurt. Their only hope is their next coach saving Russ.

***

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