Russell Wilson: Denver Broncos quarterback's poor start to 2022 season is leaving fans and ownership baffled
NBC Football Morning in America columnist Peter King: "If [Russell] Wilson in the next 12 games is what he has been through the first five weeks, I think you've got some serious thinking to do about what you do at quarterback in your future"
Last Updated: 09/10/22 9:12am
Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos in March in exchange for two first-round and two second-round draft picks, as well as three players, while in September he signed a massive five-year, $245m contract extension with the team.
But his play on the field to start the 2022 season is not delivering on such an investment.
Through five weeks, Wilson is averaging 250.8 yards per game passing, with just four touchdowns to three interceptions, while he is registering career-lows in completion percentage (59.4) and QB passer rating (82.8).
With Wilson at the helm, the Broncos are 2-3 to start the season and boast the second-worst scoring offense in the NFL (15.0 points per game), beaten only by the Indianapolis Colts (13.8 PPG), who inflicted the latest of those three defeats on Wilson and the Broncos in eking out a 12-9 overtime win in a dreadfully poor Thursday night match-up.
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Wilson is a former Super Bowl winner with the Seattle Seahawks, but NBC Football Morning in America columnist Peter King fears the Broncos may already be regretting investing so much in the 33-year-old veteran.
"If I'm a Denver Broncos fan, or George Paton - the general manager - I'm starting to have a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach," King told Pro Football Talk.
"'What did we pay for with Russell Wilson?'
"This is not the Wilson we are used to from the first 10 years of his career. Through the first five weeks of the season, he is a mediocre NFL quarterback from what he is showing right now.
"That is the most alarming thing to me, the Broncos might have paid for a very flawed quarterback - and one who the Seattle Seahawks seemed smugly pleased to get two first-round and two second-round draft picks for [and Shelby Harris, Drew Lock and Noah Fant].
King added: "If he continues on this trail for the rest of this year, it's going to be very hard for the Broncos.
"If Wilson in the next 12 games is what he has been through the first five weeks, I think you've got some serious thinking to do about what you do at quarterback in your future.
"They didn't know that they would be finding themselves in an emergency just one month into the season."
Florio: Broncos fanbase 'at their wits' end'
Although the season is far from lost for the Broncos just yet, even their two wins this season failed to be convincing, as they beat the still-winless Houston Texans 16-9 in Week Two and edged out the San Francisco 49ers 11-10 in another turgid prime-time contest a week later.
As well as Wilson, it has seen former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator and first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett come in for criticism due to the inefficacy of the offense and some early-season struggles with clock management.
The team were roundly booed in the loss to the Colts on Thursday night, and Pro Football Talk presenter Mike Florio believes it might not be long until the Broncos ownership - the Walton-Penner family, led by Rob Walton, who acquired the team for a US-record $4.65 billion in June - decide to make a change.
"I would convene a meeting of the ownership and come up with the plan - all options on the table - to fix this," he said.
"They are going to take this seriously. They've got a fanbase that are already at their wits' end.
"It is their only priority to figure out what on earth is wrong with Russell Wilson, Nathaniel Hackett and what can we do to improve it?"
Florio added on Wilson: "We don't see this from NFL franchise quarterbacks. Normally, once a guy shows that he is 'the guy', he continues to be 'the guy' until age or injury causes him to choose to no longer play. You don't lose it.
"I feel like Russell Wilson has just lost it and the harder he tries to get it back, it's not coming back."
The Broncos travel to the Los Angeles Chargers in a Monday Night Football match-up in Week Six, before hosting the New York Jets and visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars in Weeks Seven and Eight ahead of their bye week.
Wilson: I'm going to respond | 'It's going to be a special story'
Wilson has placed the blame for the Broncos' struggles firmly on his own shoulders, and had promised to turn the team's fortunes around.
"It's very simple. At the end of the day, I have to be better. I have to play better," he said after their latest loss.
"The good thing is that one thing I know about myself is [that] I'm going to respond. I don't know any other way.
"I always believe in myself. I always believe in this team. I believe in what we can do. I believe in what I can do.
"When you play this game, the one thing you're going to know is that you're going to go through adversity. Adversity is a choice, and I'm always going to choose to understand that adversity is just temporary and you're going to overcome obstacles and battles.
"We're all working together. We're all still together, focused on trying to do whatever it takes. It starts with me, and I'll make sure that I do that."
He added: "I'm looking forward to turning it around, because when we do, it's going to be a special story."
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