Broncos GM Discusses Nathaniel Hackett’s Standing & Russell Wilson’s Contract

Denver Broncos GM George Paton

Getty Denver Broncos GM George Paton looks on from the sideline.

Second-year Denver Broncos general manager George Paton has seemingly heard the same three questions every week this year. What’s wrong with the team? How do you feel about head coach Nathaniel Hackett? And, how do you feel about quarterback Russell Wilson?

9News Denver’s Mike Klis recently had an opportunity to ask a couple of those questions ahead of the Broncos’ Week 8 London match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Paton Shares His Confidence in Nathaniel Hackett Despite Tough Start

“I believe in Nathaniel,” Paton confidently responded when asked about the coaching criticism.

“I support Nathaniel 100%. He’s been in this for seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented. We’ve had four primetime games so he’s had to learn in front of the entire world.”

Paton also said that despite the disappointing 2-5 start, Hackett hasn’t lost the locker room at all.

“But I really like how he’s kept the team together. They’re connected. He’s kept our building together. I appreciate how he came through that.”

Why Broncos Gave Russell Wilson a Contract Extension Without Seeing Him Play

Much has been made, typically in jest, about Russell Wilson’s $245 million contract and his lack of success so far. Paton remained steadfast in his confidence that the extension was the correct thing for the organization to do.

“We wanted to get ahead of the contract cycle,” Paton expressed. “We had seen how Russ was in the offseason and training camp and we felt really good about Russ. We feel really good about Russ. We wanted to get ahead of it. We didn’t want a lot of distraction during the season. We feel really good about it. I feel good about that deal. I feel like it will hold up. I feel good about Russ,” Paton repeated.

Through six starts with the Broncos, Russell Wilson’s ESPN Quarterback Rating is among the lowest in the league. With a QBR of 35.2, he’s ranked via the ESPN metric as the 29th-best at the position. Washington’s Carson Wentz, the Jets’ Joe Flacco and Panthers’ Baker Mayfield are the only QB’s who rank lower than Wilson. Alternatively, AFC West rival QB Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo’s Josh Allen have the two best QBR’s at 76.8 and 76.2 respectively.

Wilson is expected to return to the Broncos’ starting lineup Sunday in London after sustaining a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Week 7 loss to the New York Jets. Hackett did not give a direct response when asked if he was confident that Russell would be the starter.

“He looks good, he had a good day of practice. We’re just going to keep on monitoring it day to day. We’ll find out, he’s still day to day, we wanna be sure that Ryp [Brett Rypien] and Josh [Joshua Johnson] are both ready at the same time.”

When Wilson addressed the media from England earlier this week, he shared confidence in Hackett despite the lack of on-field success. 

Denver makes their second trip to London in franchise history, with the last trip coming in 2010. They’ll look for their first overseas win and a chance to snap a four-game losing streak Sunday from Wembley Stadium. Kickoff, back in the Mountain Time Zone, is set for 7:30 a.m.