Russell Wilson enters his second season with Denver going through the burden of proving doubters unsuitable relatively than the problem of residing as much as gaudy expectations like he did final 12 months.
He’ll get pleasure from working with Sean Payton this time round, and the Tremendous Bowl-winning head coach likes how his new nine-time Professional Bowl QB has been trying.
“These guys are doing nicely, and he is selecting it up — the timing and all of these issues which can be required,” Payton mentioned Thursday after organized workforce actions. “For the primary 5 weeks, we had been simply lifting and operating. Now we’re stepping into some soccer exercise. We’re forward of schedule on the apply. He is selecting it up good — he appears to be like good and appears sharp.”
It is the early days of the offseason program, however the rapport fashioned between Payton and Wilson will go a great distance in figuring out the destiny of the Broncos, who’ve completed fourth within the AFC West in three straight seasons and have not reached the playoffs since their Tremendous Bowl win in 2015.
That was supposed to alter final 12 months after Wilson joined Denver in a seismic trade with Seattle. As a substitute, Wilson spiraled all through a misplaced season, finishing 60.5% of his passes for 16 touchdowns, each profession worsts, and tying his second-worst mark with 11 interceptions. He by no means regarded comfy in his new residence, nor did the offense as an entire, which ranked final within the league in factors scored.
That should enhance if Payton and Wilson are so as to add to their three mixed Tremendous Bowl journeys and two rings. It is why Wilson has been attacking the offseason like by no means earlier than, an strategy that is gained him the admiration of a former rival.
“For the longest time, I actually could not stand Russell due to what number of instances he beat us,” said offensive deal with Mike McGlinchey, a free-agent addition previously with the 49ers, who’re 4-17 all-time towards the QB. “To be within the locker room with him and to have the ability to be within the huddle with him now has been superior. Russ, in the beginning, he is a workhorse. There’s no person within the constructing that works tougher than him. He is hooked on this recreation and is hooked on attempting to be nice. That rubs off on lots of people. And there is a motive that he is had the success on this league that he is had. I am excited for what we are able to all do collectively, as a result of I believe with coach (Payton), with Russ, with the expertise we’ve got on this workforce, I believe we’ve got a extremely good shot to assist Russ get to even increased heights than he is been.”
The weapons had been there final 12 months, led by Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, and will likely be supplemented additional by second-round huge receiver Marvin Mims. Solely now Wilson has a retooled offensive line for extra time to seek out them behind big-money additions McGlinchey and Ben Powers. And, maybe most significantly, Denver lured a coach with a championship pedigree out of retirement to convey all of it collectively.
The potential of a redemption arc and being surrounded by a bevy of expertise have pushed Wilson’s already well-known work ethic to an all-time excessive this summer season, with the 34-year previous declaring he needs to have “the most effective offseason of my life.”
A coach and a rival-turned-protector are noticing that sharpness, however it’ll must translate into probably the greatest common seasons of Wilson’s life if the Broncos are to strategy the highs McGlinchey described and mount any form of Tremendous Bowl run.