Russell Wilson Bounce Back ‘Not Difficult to Imagine,’ Says Analyst

Russell Wilson

Getty Russell Wilson throws a pass during warm ups.

On September 10, the Denver Broncos will open the 2023 season against the Las Vegas Raiders. Anticipation is in the air for Denver as they attempt to open the Sean Payton era in style by ending a six-game losing streak to the Raiders.

For that to happen, the Broncos need quarterback Russell Wilson to bounce back following the worst statistical season of his NFL career. Broncos writer Nick Kosmider of The Athletic expects a return to form for Wilson in the upcoming campaign.

“The road back to a respectable baseline is not difficult to imagine. The Broncos will be more balanced on offense, even as they deal with a few injuries to start the season,” Kosmider wrote on September 3. “There will be more layups available to Wilson, and during the preseason he showed a willingness to take those — whether it was checkdowns in the flat or open lanes for him to run through.”

Kosmider predicted that Wilson will throw 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 64% of his passes. The columnist also expects the Broncos to lead an offensive attack similar to what Wilson ran in Seattle.

“He might not be the same quarterback he was when those Seattle Seahawks units were humming — top 11 in scoring each season from 2017 to 2020 — but the muscle memory hasn’t vanished, and he will benefit from Payton’s assertive play calling and the work the Broncos did this offseason to better protect their 34-year-old quarterback,” wrote Kosmider.

Sean Payton Clears the Air on Russell Wilson

Throughout the offseason, media analysts have debated Wilson’s fate in Denver under Payton. The Broncos head coach put an end to the skepticism as he backed Wilson on Peter King’s NFL on NBC podcast heading into the season opener.

“Now, we play in a tough division and there’s going to be tough weeks and all sorts of hurdles. But … honestly, I like what I’m seeing a lot and I would say, even, I’ve been pleasantly surprised — like wow, the arm talent in the throws down the field,” Payton said to King on Thursday, August 31.

Payton knows “Wilson is a winner” and understands how much motivation there is on Wilson’s end to rebound from a down 2022 campaign.

“There’s something powerful about a guy with a chip on his shoulder,” Payton said to King. “And I experienced that with my last quarterback when he injured his shoulder (Drew Brees). He got released from the Chargers. There were two teams really that had interest. One kind of had interest and then we were the one saying, ‘Hey, we’re all in,’ and I think I think that’s a pretty significant motivating factor, and I take that very seriously for him meaning, ‘Hey, let’s go. Let’s go do the things that you do well regularly, and let’s win.”

Broncos Already on Radar of Budding College Star

Wilson was among the many NFL stars who congratulated University of Colorado head coach Deion Sanders on his team’s upset win over ranked TCU on Saturday, September 2.

The Buffaloes’ 45-42 win over the Horned Frogs marked the FBS debut of two-way starter Travis Hunter. In his FBS debut, the wide receiver-cornerback hybrid played 144 snaps for Colorado on offense and defense. Hunter caught 11 passes for 119 yards and snagged an acrobatic interception in the victory.

His versatility will be valuable for any NFL team whenever he enters the draft – but could that team be the Broncos?

Hunter was asked on his weekly TikTok segment “12 Talks” which team he would like to play for in the pros. The two-way star prefers staying in Colorado even if his favorite team doesn’t reside there.

“My favorite NFL team is the (San Francisco) 49ers,” Hunter told his audience on Tuesday, August 29. “But if I had to say, I like staying in Colorado.”

Unfortunately for Broncos fans, the earliest Hunter will be eligible for the NFL draft is 2025, his junior season at Colorado. Until then, Hunter could further establish himself as a two-way player or dedicate himself solely to either cornerback or wide receiver.

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