Broncos Country can still hold out hope for Russell Wilson
You know it’s not good when national talking heads are debating whether or not the Russell Wilson trade is the worst in NFL history. That’s how bad its become Broncos Country.
Adding insult to injury, Wilson’s new mega-contract doesn’t kick in until after next year. And Seattle is looking at a top-three pick in next spring’s NFL draft, courtesy of the Denver Broncos.
Maybe it’s because the news is that bad that I’m searching for any bright spot I can find when it comes to somehow salvaging the Russell Wilson experience. I think I’ve come up with some reasons for hope. Here goes.
I tasked my morning partner, Mark Schlereth, with a homework assignment for “Telestrator Tuesday” Take a look at the film from the season opener against Seattle and then compare it with the latest game against Carolina. According to Stink, the games were like night and day.
In the Seahawks game, the offense was sharp. The play designs were creative. As Mark put it, this was the West Coast offense we were promised. This was the offense Stink played in with Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak. Russ was engaged, athletic, and precise in his decision making and throwing of the football. The numbers back it up.
Wilson was 29-of-42 for 340 yards, one touchdown and only two sacks. I asked Mark if this was the Wilson he watched in his final game as a Seahawk last season. He said yes. I asked him if this was a Wilson and an offense he’d sign up for full time. He said yes.
Then came the breakdown of the Panthers’ game. Stink said it couldn’t have been more different. The offense was elementary. Mistakes were being made at every level. Russ looked confused and tentative. The explanation was simple. Too many key guys who played in that Seattle game were hurt and out of this one. Plus, the replacements clearly haven’t been coached well and the overall play calling and scheming was not good enough for who the Broncos had out there.
I know you hate injuries as an excuse. Heck, so do I. But they can be a legitimate reason. I’m hopeful the Wilson we were promised and counting on hasn’t been lost forever. I’m hoping we don’t have to go back to his Seattle days to find reasons for optimism. I’m hoping all we have to do is go back to the beginning of this season.
Let me run this one by you. Russ has never had a crisis of confidence like the one he’s going through now. This season has been a disaster and he’s heard wave after wave of criticism coming from old Seattle teammates and Pete Carroll. He’s become a national punchline with his cringe-worthy attempts at self-branding.
I don’t care how he presents himself. He comes across as blissfully unaware of what’s being said about him. I don’t buy it. Believe it or not, he is human. I know, I know. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a cyborg. But no, he’s flesh and blood. And he knows what’s being said out there. Given him poor performance in a new environment, for maybe the first time in his adult life, Russell Wilson is seriously doubting himself.
I believe his confidence can be fixed. I believe there’s some evidence his play and this offense can improve. Maybe I’m working really hard to convince myself. But I, and we, really have no choice do we?