DROP THE MIKE

In year two, Russell Wilson hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt

Aug 3, 2023, 7:01 AM | Updated: 7:03 am

Is this when I’m supposed to issue the disclaimer? Okay, here you go…

Of course, it’s still early.

Now that that is done, allow me to say that I’m worried about Russell Wilson. A full week’s worth of practices are done and nothing has changed from last year’s nightmare.

Wilson continues to look indecisive. He’s holding onto the ball too long. It’s coming out too late. His throws still lack consistent accuracy. In short, he still looks like the overmatched quarterback from a year ago that spawned all that “he looks like he’s fallen off the cliff” chatter.

Sean Payton certainly isn’t pushing any panic buttons. He responded with a “no big whoop” when asked about Russ’ struggles. Yes, there is a new offense being installed and by all accounts Payton’s malleable West Coast style offense is extremely complicated.

I understand why Payton is viewing Russ with a clean slate in his year one with Wilson. But this is our year two. And no matter how hard we try, it’s hard to leave last year in the past.

Since the offseason began, there has been a growing belief from around the local and national football world that Russ is poised for a big bounce back. The idea being Payton will get him back to playing the kind of football he played in Seattle. We’ll see a more mobile Russ. A Russ making plays with his arm down the field while scrambling around. And of course he won’t have Coach Glass House Don’t Mess With the Bro Code to drag him down.

As I listen to all that optimism, there has been and continues to be one nagging neon sign like thought that goes through my head. No matter how much a quarterback can run around and make plays because of his mobility, there comes a time when he needs to be able to stand in the pocket and deal. Mark Schlereth calls it his “70/30” rule. Thirty percent of the time, a QB can move around and make something out of nothing. But 70 percent of the time, he needs to play quarterback and operate and dominate from the pocket.

That means reading the defense. It means knowing where to go with the ball. It means quickly deciding who should get the ball and getting the ball out fast and accurately.

Russell Wilson didn’t do those things last year. It was so bad that just because Payton is here and Hackett is gone it doesn’t wipe away those painful memories for all of us who had to suffer through it.

Perhaps last year was a fluke. Perhaps Russ flourishes under the tutelage of Payton and gets back to his Pro Bowl ways. Perhaps. Perhaps.

But we know what we saw last year and we know it looks distressingly similar so far this season. So Russell doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt with Broncos Country. He doesn’t get that clean slate from us. It’s his responsibility to win us over and create a new narrative. Until then, it is fair to worry.

Your move Russ.

***

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