Russell Wilson favored as 2023 comeback player of year. Is that crazy?


Kiz: The NFL does not reward points for moral victories. but the Broncos never backed down and fought to the bitter end during a 27-24 loss to Kansas City. Quarterback Russell Wilson could not beat Patrick Mahomes. But did we see enough positives to believe that with a new head coach, all the problems endured by Wilson are “fixable.” Would you bet on him being the comeback player of the year in 2023?

Gabriel: Wilson, according to at least one betting service (BetOnline) is considered the early favorite to win that award, Kiz, currently checking in at 4-to-1 odds. Actually, there’s another Broncos player on the list, too, in running back Javonte Williams, out since Week 4 with a knee injury. As it pertains to Wilson, he heads into Week 18 with 13 touchdown passes in 14 starts. Wilson’s never thrown fewer than 20 in a year and only once has thrown fewer than 25. His adjusted net yards per attempt (6.6) is easily the lowest of his career, as is his passer rating (82.5).

Kiz: I don’t believe Wilson is washed up. At age 30, John Elway suffered through a 5-11 season during which his quarterback rating was a wretched 78.5. With time, he recovered to win two Super Bowl rings. I’m not predicting there are two championships in the future of Wilson and the Broncos. But I am saying that if Denver can hire Sean Payton, get key players healthy and enjoy a productive offseason by general manager George Paton, it’s possible for Wilson to be a top 10 quarterback in this league again.

Gabriel: Top 10, that’s a big call. I like the aggressiveness. Not sure I’d go that far, but I do agree with your sentiment that Wilson is not washed up. You see the flashes of confidence and play-making ability that helped make him a nine-time Pro Bowler. It is fair to point to the extent of the injuries the Broncos offense has faced. And even though Wilson will be playing for a new head coach — this is the first time he’s ever had a football coach fired — in 2023, he will have been in Denver and part of this organization for a year. The bet here is that helps.


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