ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The first week of offseason football practice in Denver is in the books, and the Broncos’ star quarterback appears to have spent the offseason hard at work.
“You always want to be in the best shape of your life,” Russell Wilson said. “I feel better than ever.”
Those words can ring hollow this time of year when half the league’s players are claiming to be in the best shape of their life. But Wilson looked healthier to the naked eye on Thursday, the first time Wilson had spoken to the media since the end of the 2022 campaign, and that’s excellent news for Broncos fans hoping for a bounce-back season.
Wilson was less mobile in 2022 than in the first decade of his career. He set a new career high in sacks and finished with his third-worst rushing season by yards and yards per carry.
The slimmed-down version of Wilson is ready for a turnaround.
“I feel great,” Wilson said. “I feel lean and mean and ready to go.”
While Wilson acknowledged the effects of his offseason work, he wasn’t willing to say how much weight, if any, he’s lost.
“I’m not worried about that. I’m not counting,” he said. “All I know is I’m excited to play again.”
The rushing stats weren’t the only issue for Wilson in 2022. He set new career lows in a handful of stats, including completion percentage, passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio.
“There’s always the journey of the highs and lows,” Wilson said. “There’s been a lot of highs. There’s been some tough lows. Adversity, you’ve gotta be able to handle it all. I’ll be ready to handle it.”
Wilson’s new head coach Sean Payton, who took over the reins in February, is happy with what he’s seen through the first three practices of organized team activities (OTAs).
“He’s picking it up—the timing and all of those things that are required,” Payton said. “For the first five weeks, we were just lifting and running. Now we’re getting into some football activity. We are ahead of schedule on the practice. He’s picking it up good—he looks good and looks sharp.”
Payton is bringing his offense, which he ran for 15 years as head coach of the Saints, from New Orleans to Denver. His longevity in the bayou meant he didn’t need to make major overhauls to his team’s system. Now, he’s implementing an offense that the vast majority of his team has never played in before.
“It’s the third day,” Payton said. “We’re working through—look, we’re installing an entirely new offense. You see glimpses and then you see a lot We have to correct. The process is going well.”
Wilson is excited by the process.
“I want to be the best version of me, and I’m looking forward to the work,” he said.