Less preaching, more TD passes.


Russell Wilson leads the NFL in one category: positive affirmations. The Broncos quarterback preaches the wisdom of everyone and everything from Winston Churchill to the Epistle of James.

But when it comes to throwing touchdown passes, Wilson hasn’t been so hot.

He has heard the criticism. At age 33, Wilson looks washed up.

“I’m motivated, but not by criticism,” Wilson said Wednesday.

Outside noise? He’s neither spooked nor shaken by it.

“I can handle it,” Wilson said. “I’m built for it.”

Wilson can turn any news conference into an inspirational poster painted with more pastel positivity than Tony Robbins has on his entire palette.

With all due respect for Wilson’s relentlessly positive approach to football and life, the time has come for less preaching and more winning.

In the quest for playoff relevancy a franchise quarterback was supposed to bring Denver, patience has ceased to be a virtue, unless the Broncos don’t mind waiting all the way until next year. Again. For the seventh NFL season in a row.

Failure is not an option when Denver plays the Los Angeles Chargers.

“It’s as urgent as it can be. It’s a must win for us on Monday night,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said, when I asked him the importance of earning a victory against an AFC West opponent to avoid going 0-2 in the division.

That’s not some knucklehead sportswriter calling it a must win. It’s Simmons, a team captain and a voice of reason in the Denver locker room. Simmons knows the score. Drop to 2-4 and the Broncos’ playoff dreams could teeter precipitously on the brink long before the rough portion of the schedule kicks in.

After Denver lost 12-9 to Indianapolis in a game so ugly it was hard to watch, Wilson cited a quote often attributed to Churchill about the importance of perseverance when going through hell.

“You ask me how tough these times are,” Wilson said. “When people ask me that question, I always think about my Dad, because he was on his deathbed talking about football and what I love to do.”

OK, we all know football is not life and death.

But we also don’t know why Wilson looks so rusty.

While it’s probably too early to declare buyer’s remorse, it’s fair to wonder if the Broncos would’ve been wiser to hold off on giving Wilson a $245 million contract extension before checking out how he looked in a Denver uniform. Through five games, Wilson couldn’t have stunk much worse if he ate Beef-o-reeno for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In fact, through five games, Wilson’s 59.4% completion rate, four TD passes, 82.8 QB rating and 2-3 record are inferior to the 64.1% completion rate, seven TD passes, 89.7 QB rating and 4-1 record compiled by some dude named Drew Lock as a raw rookie back in 2019.

This is not to suggest the Broncos made a mistake by giving up on Lock or trading for Wilson. But whereas Lock was guilty of thinking too little, methinks Wilson is so wrapped up in mastering every little detail that he has been too busy overthinking instead of trusting his instincts and playing free when he breaks the Denver huddle.

“Adversity is going to come. Adversity is going to come in our lives. In our personal lives, in football, in sports and whatever you do. Your jobs, everything,” Wilson said.

“Adversity comes in all different forms and fashions. How we handle it, how we deal with it … We can either run from it or run to it and just keep going.”

He cited a Bible verse that gives him strength.

“It’s James 1:2. It says: ‘Consider it pure joy as you go through trials and tribulation, because it’s a test in your faith that builds perseverance.’ My dad always used to use that word ‘perseverance’ and I think the reality of it is you have to be able to overcome the storms and understand they’re going to come,” Wilson said.


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