Things haven’t gone well for quarterback Russell Wilson in his first season with the Denver Broncos. Things don’t seem to be getting any better either.
Denver’s offense has struggled this season behind a weak offensive line and with an inexperienced play-caller in first-year head coach Nathanial Hackett. But in light of the latest negative report in regards to the Broncos offense, Wilson is a major part of the issues too.
Former NFL offensive lineman and radio host Tyler Polumbus, who won the Super Bowl in February 2016 with the Broncos, of Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM said on November 16 that Wilson has confused his own teammates by calling audibles that he used to have with the Seattle Seahawks.
Polumbus explained on air that he noticed this issue weeks ago and had it confirmed by “a couple people” to make him “feel confident” Wilson is in fact calling the wrong audibles.
“Russell is losing his mind out there. He’s losing his mind. He’s at the line of scrimmage using audibles from the Seahawks,” Polumbus said. “The guys don’t know what the audibles are.
“He’s using code words that guys don’t know what the code words are, and they’re coming back to the huddle, and they’re like, ‘Dude, what are you saying out there? We don’t know the play, we don’t know what that is.’ He’s losing his mind right now.”
Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright of KOA 850 AM confirmed Wilson has been calling Seattle audibles.
Wilson Wristband Controversy
The report about Wilson using the wrong audibles arrived less than a week after the quarterback received a subtle dig from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll about his use of a wristband … or lack thereof.
“If you notice, Geno’s going off the wristband, and that’s a big help,” Carroll said during an interview with Seattle Sports on November 7. “It’s smoothed things out, sped things up, cleaned things up. And that’s part of it, too. We never did that before. There was resistance to that, so we didn’t do that before.”
Seahawks insider Gregg Bell of The News Tribune reported that offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was asked following Carroll’s comments about why Wilson didn’t use a wristband.
“Just, different people are used to different things,” said Waldron.
Wilson still isn’t wearing a wristband with the Broncos this season.
Judging by the fact that he’s apparently calling the wrong audibles, maybe it’s something he should consider wearing until he learns the right calls to make at the line of scrimmage.
Wilson Struggling, Geno Smith Thriving
Wilson hit career-highs with 40 touchdowns and 4,212 passing yards, which was 7 yards short of a career best, just two years ago. But a thumb injury hurt his production last season and the bottom has fallen out on Wilson during his first season in Denver.
Wilson has a career-low 57.4% completion percentage with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 8 games this season. He’s on pace for 3,960 passing yards, which will be his lowest in a season since 2018.
The low production isn’t because of a lack of attempts. Wilson is on track for 540 attempts in 2022, which is nearly 70 more passes than what he averaged per season in 10 years with the Seahawks.
Meanwhile, Wilson’s replacement in Seattle, Geno Smith, is experiencing a breakout season behind center. Smith leads the NFL with a 72.8% completion percentage with 17 touchdowns versus 4 interceptions.
If both quarterbacks maintain the same level of production in the second half, Smith will finish with 20 more touchdown passes than Wilson.
To avoid that embarrassment, Wilson needs to get on the same page with the rest of his offense. It starts with making sure everyone knows what play he wants to run.