Kiz: DangeRuss has been DisasteRuss. Mr. Unlimited is the quarterback of the 31st-ranked scoring offense in the NFL. The Broncos didn’t mortgage the future with a blockbuster trade, then sign Russell Wilson to a $245 million contract extension for their new franchise quarterback to play like Davis Mills. So what’s the dang deal? Tell me why Wilson has been so bad. And, more important, how do the Broncos fix him?
Gabriel: Wilson followed his best game of the season to date — 237 passing yards and three total touchdowns against the Raiders in Las Vegas — with his worst Thursday night against the Colts. He threw two fourth-quarter interceptions with his team leading 9-6 and then missed a fourth-and-the-ballgame opportunity for a touchdown. Saturday, we learned he got a PRP injection in his injured right shoulder in Los Angeles on Friday. It’s plausible that’s impacting his play, though he looked good for most of the game against the Raiders after suffering the injury early in the game.
Kiz: I’m willing to give Wilson credit for playing hurt. But a dinged shoulder shouldn’t adversely affect his vision and cause Wilson to be blind when KJ Hamler busts wide open on the incomplete pass into the end zone to Courland Sutton that ended the DisateRuss overtime loss against Indianapolis. If Wilson’s injury is significantly limiting his effectiveness, it’s also an indictment of coach Nathaniel Hackett’s insistence on putting the ball in his quarterback’s hands with the game on the line.
Gabriel: Yeah, interesting point. If everybody knew about the shoulder issue, why are you throwing on third-and-4 near the 2-minute warning and again on fourth-and-inches in overtime? Well, why are you throwing on fourth-and-inches anyway? Part of the struggle is probably due to just the learning curve of new everything. It’s difficult enough to retrain your brain to play in a new offensive system and, at times, Hackett hasn’t got plays in quickly enough or there seems to be a delay in figuring out what to do next.
Kiz: Way back in training camp, I heard whispers Wilson believed a new system with a new coach and new teammates made a slow start a distinct possibility. It’s hard to build confidence without successful results. So I wonder if the trust factor Wilson hoped to build with teammates and coaches might have actually eroded over five games of the regular season. Hackett has been all about doing whatever pleases Wilson. Maybe it’s time for the coach to dictate more in terms of the way Denver does business on offense.
Gabriel: The dwindling set of weapons hasn’t helped, either. First Tim Patrick was lost in camp, then Javonte Williams, then left tackle Garett Bolles, plus they played without Jerry Jeudy for part of a game and Hamler’s been in and out, as well. Who strikes fear into opposing defenses besides Sutton? All of that being said, there are also some misses that you just have to chalk up to Wilson. A couple of balls to Jeudy that would have been first downs, a couple where a quick trigger over the middle results in perhaps a big play. A couple of those split-second calls on whether to tuck and run or throw the ball. If that stuff starts coming around, the whole picture will look better. If not, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks ahead.