Can Russell Wilson rediscover his elite form with the Denver Broncos?

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” John F. Kennedy announced In his inaugural presidential address on January 20, 1961. Will the question asked about quarterback Russell Wilson joining the Denver Broncos this season after his first decade in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks say nothing about the Broncos’ Super Bowl chances? And more, “Which Russell Wilson are the Broncos getting?”

Since entering the NFL in 2012, Wilson has been a top-shelf quarterback. Only Russell Wilson and Tom Brady have quarterbacked their teams to 100 or more wins in that time. Only Brady (324) and back-to-back NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers (317) have thrown more passing touchdowns than Wilson (292) since 2012, and only Brady (19) since 2012 than Wilson (9). More playoff wins. Wilson’s ability to create while taking care of the football and limiting turnovers has also been historically very good: Wilson has a TD-INT ratio of 3.4 while throwing just 87 career interceptions in 292 career games. which is the third most in NFL history.

Since Russell Wilson entered the NFL in 2012

The QB wins.


the second*

Won the playoffs.


the second*

Pass the TD.



TD-INT ratio



* Trails only Tom Brady

Best TD-INT ratio in NFL history

Aaron Rogers



Patrick Mahomes



Russell Wilson



Tom Brady



Naturally, new Broncos head coach and former Packers offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, couldn’t contain himself at his introductory press conference when he discussed his fate with the newly acquired Wilson in his first NFL head coaching gig. were talking about.

However, each of Wilson’s last two seasons have been roller coasters with stellar first halves and a significant step back in the latter parts. In the 2020 season, it seemed as though Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had finally embraced the “Let Russia Kick” movement, allowing Seattle’s offense to become more pass-centric as the team Ran the football on just 40.2 percent of his plays, 19th in the NFL, outside the top 15 for the first time since 2017 and just the fourth time as Carroll’s 12-year head coach. Wilson led the NFL with 28 passing touchdowns in the first half of the season, but his production dropped off the board significantly over the final eight games as teams adjusted to Seattle’s Wilson-centric attack.

Russell Wilson – 2020 Season

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Passing Yards/Att



Passing yards



Pass TD-INT.



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* Lead the NFL in pass TDs, second in passer rating in Weeks 1-9

Last season, a broken middle finger on his throwing hand after being hit by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald derailed another hot start in 2021 in which Wilson led the NFL in passing yards per attempt (9.6). , led in touchdown-to-interception ratio (10-1). and passer rating (125.3) through the first five weeks of 2021.

Russell Wilson before/after finger injury
2021 season

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* Led the NFL in tenure.

The drop-off to the 2021 season, due to an injury, raises a big question: How will Russell Wilson play as he ages and what his body has taken over the past decade? The 5-foot-11, 215-pound quarterback, who turns 34 at the end of November, is the NFL’s most sacked passer since he entered the NFL in 2012 with 427 career sacks. That’s the most by a player in at least the first 10 seasons since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. New Colts quarterback Matt Ryan has 365 for second in that time frame, 62 fewer than Wilson.

Those sacks can be attributed to Wilson’s heavy use of his legs to leave the pocket in an attempt to create extra throwing lanes and big plays. His streaky wizardry also contributed to the Seahawks not investing much of their salary cap space in offensive linemen over the past decade.

Russell Wilson is passing on rollouts and scrambles.
Since 2012, per Pro Football Focus

Pass attempts.


1 St



1 St

Passing yards


1 St

Pass the TD.



Randall Cunningham, with 409 career sacks in his first 10 seasons, is the only other quarterback with more than 400 sacks in his first 10 seasons since at least the 1970 merger. started After his 10th season, Cunningham had only one season (1998) in his final six years in which he started more than six games.

Fortunately for Wilson, the Broncos have personnel on both sides of the ball to potentially ease his load as he ages. Second-year running back Javonte Williams and Wilson’s Wisconsin teammate, two-time Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon, will return in 2022 as the only pair in the NFL to each have more than 900 rushing yards in previous seasons. . Each of Wilson’s top four wide receivers in Courtland Sutton (26), Tim Patrick (28), Jerry Geody (23) and KJ Hamler (23) are south of 30 years old.

The Matt LaFleur-offense Hackett brings with him from Green Bay features zone-blocking and play-action passing also used by the Super Bowl champion Rams and NFC runner-up 49ers, and back-to-back NFL MVPs for Aaron Rodgers. cause These signature elements of this offensive structure were first popularized by former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan while working with Hall of Famer John Elway in the 1990s. Point: Taking some pressure off the quarterback with pre-snap motion and shifts in the passing game to help the quarterback read the defense before the play begins.

“I think it’s all about command of the system,” Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said. said About Wilson on offense at the team’s minicamp in May. “We want to completely build this thing around him and make sure he’s comfortable, and watch him come alive. I think he used his athleticism to do some great things today. Did things. Passersby.”

So far, Wilson has been coy about Hackett’s offense, like last week when he was asked about it.

“I can’t say much [but] There were touchdowns all over the field.” Wilson said Last week, via ESPN , when asked how his offense was doing on the field.

Tim Patrick, one of the team’s longest-tenured wide receivers along with Courtland Sutton, said his offense now is different than what the Broncos have run since he arrived in 2018.

“It’s just something different that we haven’t done yet,” Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick said. “Then you have to think – we have Russia. [Wilson] And we have a coach. [Nathaniel] Hackett. They put their two systems together, so it’s kind of a crime. It’s not something that’s really taught. [here] First.”

On the other side of the ball, Wilson has a defense that put up the kind of numbers in Seattle when the Seahawks made regular deep playoff runs early in his career: 18.9 points allowed per game (third in the NFL), 326.1 total yards allowed per game (8th in NFL), 50 percent red zone efficiency allowed (3rd in NFL).

Trading two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock and defensive lineman Shelby Harris to the Seahawks for a franchise quarterback like Wilson was what the Broncos needed to do regardless. Regardless of the chances of Wilson age like Cunningham. Or a contemporary quarterback like Cam Newton after years of wear and tear. Denver has started the most different quarterbacks in the NFL since Peyton Manning’s final season in 2015 (11), and has yet to play since Manning walked off the field following his Super Bowl 50 victory. Couldn’t reach off.

Missing the playoffs in each of the past six seasons since 2016 gives the Broncos the longest playoff drought by a team in NFL history after winning the Super Bowl, tied with the Jets in the NFL. The 11-season drought is the second-longest active streak. .

If Wilson plays at the level he’s been used to for most of his career, he could lead the Broncos back to the playoffs and continue his team’s long-standing tradition of passing trades. (Hall of Famer John Elway) or free agency (Hall of Famer Peyton Manning). All but one of their Super Bowl wins and all but one of their all-time playoff wins have come from starting quarterbacks when they went undrafted.

A Star Has Been Bought – Broncos’ All-Time QB Breakdown

Won the Super Bowl.



The playoffs begin.



Won the playoffs.



Division titles



* All from Tim Tebow

“We have a championship-caliber football team,” Wilson said Thursday. “Now is the time to just show up and prove it, go out and do it.”

Wilson won’t have to wait long to see the difference in how he plays in his new offense versus how he played in his old one as his first game is in Seattle against the same Seahawks. Monday will mark the end of the first week of the season. Night Football. With Wilson at +1600 odds to capture his first NFL MVP (T-7th best in NFL) in Year 1 in Denver, the Broncos are raising their hopes a mile that Wilson can prove it, going out. And by finishing his six. A playoff-less spell in the dry year in the wilderness.