In true leader fashion, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson wanted to speak first before the media asked him questions about the firing of Nathaniel Hackett during his media availability on December 28, 2022.
Wilson was heartbroken by the news considering the two had worked closely together since Wilson landed in Denver. The quarterback highlighted how Hackett was an amazing man and an amazing teacher of the game.
“He [Hackett] was a guy that spent all his time, all of his effort into us as players, as staff members, everybody coaches as well,” Wilson said. “It’s been a crazy season, tons of injuries, tons of everything else, but the reality is that I wish I could have played better for him. I wish I could have played at the standard and level that I’ve always played at and know how to play at.”
As Wilson mentioned, he has yet to look like the quarterback the Broncos expected to be trading for when they made a move for him back in March 2022. He is a Super Bowl Champion, nine-time Pro Bowler, and the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient. To go along with his accolades, Wilson threw for over 4,200 yards and had a 40 to 13 touchdown-to-interception ratio just two seasons ago. Seeing a quarterback’s play drop off this badly this fast is almost unprecedented.
What the Broncos organization needs to see is a rebound from Wilson. Part of the decision to relieve Hackett of his head coaching position was due to the offense never looking in sync, as Owner and CEO Greg Penner mentioned in his December 26 press conference. Trusting in his talents and experience as a player, Wilson believes he can be better for the fans and the organization.
“I know I can play exceptionally well. I know what I have in me, and I know what I can do,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day, each moment you get out there, you want to play your best; I haven’t been able to do that this year so far. We have two games to go, I want to be able to just go and compete at the highest level and try to get us two wins and get a win against the Kansas City Chiefs.”
When the Broncos and Chiefs last played in Week 14, it was arguably Wilson’s best performance. Not only did he play up to his standards statistically, throwing for three touchdowns and 242 yards, but showed toughness to his teammates, willing to take some hits in the pocket. Wilson can hopefully build on that performance into something that gets a win and gives the fanbase a positive outlook for the future.
Broncos Trying to Play Spoiler for the Chiefs
When a team is 4-11 like the Broncos, playoff hopes have evaporated. Denver will play their division rival Kansas City Chiefs this week, looking to play spoiler for playoff seeding. If the Chiefs lose on Sunday, that puts their path to the No. 1 seed in the AFC further from reach.
As it stands, the Buffalo Bills and Chiefs are tied at a 12-3 record, with the Bills having the tiebreaker for the No.1 seed over the Chiefs, beating them earlier in the season. If the Broncos win Sunday, it forces the Chiefs to play a meaningful Week 18 game, hoping the Cincinnati Bengals and Bills lose their Week 18 matchup. If either the Bills or Bengals win, they would be the No. 1 seed, not the Chiefs.
There is a lot of information there just to say; if Wilson can lead the Broncos into Arrowhead Stadium and walk out with a win, the fanbase would turn the other cheek about all of the miscues this season. A win like that starts with trusting the players on his team and playing as a cohesive unit for the first time all season. That’s something Wilson feels highly confident in accomplishing.
“Obviously, just trying to score more touchdowns, I’m used to scoring a lot of touchdowns and winning a lot of games, and it hasn’t happened. It’s the first time it’s been like this,” Wilson said.
“But what I do know is I do believe in our guys that we have around us. I do know that guys like Cortland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy’s playing his best football, to be around a guy like Latavius Murray, to be around guys like Justin Simmons and the warriors and competitors that those guys are…we’re gonna do everything we can to be our best every day.”
Playing at their best will have to start on Sunday as the Broncos look to turn the page on the 2022 season and end these final two weeks on a high note.
Broncos Teammates Back Up Russell Wilson on Twitter
There have been rumors about Russell Wilson getting special treatment from the organization with his own office and parking space. Some players took to social media to stand behind their quarterback.
Here is a similar Tweet from Wilson’s No. 1 target this season, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Left tackle Garett Bolles even wrote out a longer statement, addressing Broncos Country to trust the team, Wilson, and that they will see improvement in the future.