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Russell Wilson
NFL

Is Russell Wilson Cooked?

  • Justin Melo
  • September 26, 2022
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The Denver Broncos secured a much-needed 11-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday evening. It was about as unimpressive of a win as a team can manage. The Broncos became the first team to punt on 10-plus occasions and manage a victory since 2016. Denver’s efforts were boosted by a strange two-point safety. Quarterback Russell Wilson has failed to meet expectations. It’s early, but Wilson’s performances have been discouraging.

There has to be at least some concern in Denver. The Broncos’ offense has scored three offensive touchdowns through 12 quarters. Could Broncos general manager George Paton already be rethinking his decision to sign Wilson to a five-year extension worth $245 million despite Wilson having two remaining years on his contract? Perhaps it was a premature decision.

Through three contests, the Broncos’ offense currently ranks 30th in points per game (14.3). It’s worth acknowledging the 32nd-ranked Dallas Cowboys play on Monday night. An average offensive performance from Dallas would drop the Broncos to 31st. The Broncos haven’t eclipsed 16 points in a single contest.

Wilson has battled bouts of inaccuracy. Miscommunication on offense and delay of game penalties have been persistent. Wilson is taking sacks and making poor decisions while attempting to play hero ball. Wilson currently ranks 21st among all quarterbacks in QBR (45.2), via ESPN Stats & Info. Denver had 50 yards of offense against San Francisco on six non-scoring second-half possessions that didn’t include kneel-downs.

Wilson has completed just 59.4% of his passing attempts—his career low is 61.3% back in 2017. Wilson is currently averaging 247.6 passing yards per game. When extrapolating that average throughout the course of a 17-game season, Wilson is on pace to finish the campaign with approximately 4,209 yards. It’s well below his career per-game average mark. Pro Football Focus has assigned Wilson a rather pedestrian passing grade of 61.2 thus far.

The Broncos don’t appear fit to contend for the division title in the AFC West despite their 2-1 record and consecutive victories. The division as a whole is underperforming (did anyone predict the AFC West going winless against the AFC South on Sunday?). The Broncos aren’t performing like legitimate postseason contenders. That was the expectation following the decision to acquire Wilson.

The Broncos will chalk up their current struggles to an adjustment period. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett has installed a complex scheme that takes time to master. Hackett has experienced his own game-management issues which led to him hiring an experienced assistant earlier this week. The acclimation period excuse will only last so long for Wilson and this underperforming Broncos offense, however. Broncos fans are already out of patience while routinely booing the offense off the field.

Expectations were sky-high for this Broncos squad entering the 2022 campaign. A team often viewed as being “a quarterback away” made an aggressive move to acquire a nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion quarterback in Wilson. Qualifying for the postseason is a must given the sizable investment. The payoff hasn’t arrived, and there should be legitimate concerns it won’t happen for Russell Wilson and Hackett in 2022.

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Justin Melo