As Greg Penner, Rob Walton, Carrie Walton-Penner, Condoleezza Rice, George Paton and the rest of the Broncos’ head coach search committee begin conducting interviews to find their next coach, there will be one crucial topic that each candidate must address.
Is Russell Wilson fixable?
To what extent? What is the plan for getting Wilson to rebound after his worst season in the NFL?
There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to the question. But if a candidate does not believe Wilson is fixable, they must have a plan to fix Denver’s quarterback situation moving forward.
With that being said, is Russ fixable?
All odds below are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Is Russell Wilson fixable?
Zac: Of course — After playing at a Hall-of-Fame level for a decade in Seattle, Wilson didn’t just completely forgot how to play football in the NFL overnight.
The question, in my mind, isn’t if he’s fixable, it’s to what extent. This year, Wilson has been arguably one of the worst, if not the worst, quarterbacks in nearly every statistical category. He can certainly be better than that moving forward.
But is his ceiling now an average quarterback? Or a borderline-elite quarterback?
The key for fixing Russ—and the extent that he can be fixed—revolves around his mobility. This year, from the start, Nathaniel Hackett put a major emphasis on keeping Wilson in the pocket and developing him into a pocket passer. That, clearly, is not Russ’ game.
In both games against the Chiefs, Wilson displayed his mobility and had two of his best games of the season. In those two games, Wilson had a combined six touchdowns—including two on the ground—two interceptions, over 550 total yards and a completion percentage above 65.
If Wilson can be that type of quarterback consistently, Denver will be competing for the playoffs every single year.
RK: Absolutely — You don’t just go from the winningest quarterback in NFL history through 10 years to an unusable asset overnight, and that’s what it looked like in Denver this season. In my opinion, Russ’ downfall was a combination of multiple factors.
- Disfunctional coaching: It was clear VERY early that Nathaniel Hackett was in over his head and that resulted in a Denver Broncos team that went off the rails in all facets, maybe the worst off all being the play calling. Hacket never, ever found a groove calling plays for Russ and I’m of the belief that he lost his confidence calling the plays within the first quarter of the season.
- Injuries: The Broncos lost their starting left tackle, starting running back, wide receiver three (maybe two) and wide receiver four for the season, and that’s just a small sample of the injury issues they dealt with all year.
- Physical decline: This definitely played a role. You saw Russ struggle to do things he’s done his whole career, especiall outside of the pocket. I do wonder, though, if some of this can be mitigated by a more rigorous offseason training regiment.
Bullet one can absolutely be fixed this offseason, bullet two should break better next season and bullet three is to be seen. If they can get two out of three, you will see a “fixed” Russell Wilson next season, if they get three out of three you may just see the Russell Wilson the Broncos paid for.
Hank: To an extent — Russell Wilson will never win NFL MVP—that’s a given—but he can be a helpful piece of a playoff team.
When Wilson was in his prime, his legs scared defenses every bit as much as his arm. Sometimes more. He finished in the top three of quarterbacks in terms of rushing yards in each of his first four NFL seasons. In 2014, he was the NFL leader with 849 yards, which is still the eighth-most ever for a quarterback. Up until last season, Wilson finished in the top six in quarterback rushing yards in eight of nine seasons and in the top four in six of the nine.
Wilson is what he is as a passer; league average or maybe just a little bit below. His legs are what can elevate his game. Wilson is still capable of being a top-10 running quarterback, but just how high he can climb is up in the air. He’ll be a Pro Bowler if he finishes in the top five. A top-seven finish should be the goal.
Two things need to change for Wilson to hit this target; first, the offense needs to incorporated more quarterback runs and more passing plays that open up running lanes when all else fails. Second, Wilson needs to rebuild his body to maximize what he can be at his age. Cut a few pounds and work on agility.
Picks Picks Picks
Broncos total points over/under 20.5
Chargers total points over/under 18.5
Broncos-Chargers total points over/under 40
Raiders @ Chiefs (-8.5)
Chargers @ Broncos (-3)