Broncos Offseason Moves Designed to ‘Take Load Off’ Russell Wilson

Getty The Mile High Report's Nick Burch believes the Broncos have made offseason moves designed to take the load off of Russell Wilson

The Broncos have made all of their offensive signings during the 2023 offseason with an eye on making life easier for Russell Wilson according to the Mile High Report’s Nick Burch — and in the process, make the running game the focal point of the offense.

“These early moves should be indicative that Payton has every intention of keeping his QB upright and showing himself worthy of his massive contract (and also hopefully to prevent any more sideline photos where he has a knot the size of a tennis ball on his forehead),” Burch prefaced before saying, “Yet, it’s not just keeping him upright and giving him time to throw that will allow him to breathe. All these moves also suggest Payton plans to make the run game a focal point of the offense, which will take some of the load off of Wilson.”

Offensive linemen Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey were brought on board specifically to prop up Denver’s pass protection, which as Burch relays, was by far the worst in the NFL.

“The Broncos would finish the season as the team who allowed the most sacks to its QB, 63 in total. 55 of those were to Wilson,” Burch said. “To provide a visual to just how bad that is, the five best units at protecting their QB all surrendered fewer than 30 sacks on the season.”

Broncos Add Pair of Capable Blockers in Backfield

Sean Payton also signed running back Samaje Perine and fullback Mike Burton for the purpose of keeping Wilson upright in the backfield.

Burch believes Perine might be more valuable for his ability to protect the quarterback than anything else.

“Perine is a good enough ball carrier in his own right who can help move the chains for the offense, but he might be more valuable for his protection skills,” Burch wrote. “His former offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, Brian Callahan, referred to him as one of the best pass blocking backs in the league. That’s something that Wilson sorely lacked last season.”

Burton, on the other hand, should allow the likes of Javonte Williams and Perine to breathe in the open field.

“Burton is a run blocking specialist who played for Payton in New Orleans in 2020, and his ability in that area should allow Wilson and the passing offense some breathing room as the ground game does its job,” Burch wrote.

Broncos Don’t Want Repeat Season From Russell Wilson

Part of Wilson’s struggles during the 2022 season had to do with the role he was tasked with according to Burch — hence the aggressive spending from the Broncos, who spent $235 million to upgrade Denver’s roster.

Burch believes Payton is doing everything possible to avoid a repeat season from Wilson.

“Last season it seemed he was relied on to do more than he could handle, and Payton is making it known with these moves that it won’t be the case this time around,” Burch wrote.

With the offensive line fortified and the backfield bringing on two capable pass-blockers, the receiving corps should now be Denver’s sole focus says Burch.

“Now, all attention turns to whether or not any receivers will be incoming our outgoing and if any true ground threat will be brought in to allow Javonte Williams more time to recover.”

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