ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As if the season on the field hadn’t been tough enough, Russell Wilson took another blow off the field on Tuesday.

“One of the things that I’ve consistently hear about it is, Nathaniel Hackett, for everything that’s gone wrong, and everything that people are saying about his job right now, he has not lost that locker room. Russ has lost some people around that team,” Tom Pelissero reported on the NFL’s ‘The Insiders’ show on Tuesday about Wilson’s standing in the locker room. “He has lost some people in that locker room.”

Often times when discussing a person losing a locker room it’s about a coach. But, according to Pelissero, Denver’s starting quarterback is the one who has begun losing players.

On Wednesday, addressing the media for the first time since the report came out, Nathaniel Hackett took a hard stance against the national report.

“I heard that a little bit. I mean, to me it’s all gossip,” the Broncos’ head coach said firmly. “I know how this locker room—I mean we have a fantastic locker room. When you look at a guy like Russ, I mean, he’s unbelievable. He works—I’ve never seen someone work that hard. I’ve never seen somebody try to embrace a team like he has while he’s here. Just from everything that he does, from walkthroughs to helping, how he is in the community. Russ is awesome. We just need to do better as a team. It’s that simple. All that stuff, it is what it is. I love Russ.”

The news was not only reported shortly after Denver fell to 3-8 on the season, but also two days after Mike Purcell was spotted on the sideline in a heated exchange with Russell Wilson. That interaction brought up questions about Wilson’s standing among his teammates.

Additionally, Wilson is having the worst year of his career. Through ten starts, Wilson has eight touchdown passes to nine interceptions. His 82.3 passer rating and 32.3 QBR are on pace to be by far the worst marks of his career as well.

Despite that, Hackett said Wilson has responded well to the criticism.

“That’s another thing just to put on the top of the type of guy he is,” Hackett said when asked how Wilson has responded to the criticism. “When you sign up for this profession, wherever it is, especially a quarterback, certain coaches, certain players, if you lose, you’re going to get criticism, it’s that simple. The idea is is that you’ve got to keep your head down, you got to keep working, you got to do everything you can to put the team in the best position and they’ve got to feel that and know that.

“That’s something Russ does,” Hackett continued, beginning the praise for his quarterback. “I mean, it’s unbelievable. He doesn’t get affected. He keeps coming out here working. I mean, heck, he might work harder and I didn’t think you could. I give him so much credit for that is to keep his head down, keep working with all the different people that he’s gone out on that field with. I just give him so much credit for that. Just all the different line ups that we have. I mean, he just keeps grinding, keeps trying to make a play, keeps fighting, no matter what.”

Not only does Hackett have Wilson’s back to the media, but he has his back on the field as well. When pressed if there was any scenario in which he would make a change at quarterback, the head coach shot it down immediately.

“Right now, no,” Hackett stated without hesitation.

Author

Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.

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