Russell Wilson feels “great,” thinks Denver offense is “starting to catch a groove”


If there’s any doubt about how Denver will approach playing time and style of play for quarterback Russell Wilson after he sustained a concussion Dec. 11 against Kansas City, head coach Nathaniel Hackett put it to rest Wednesday.

“No, he’s full go,” Hackett said when asked if Wilson had any limitations. “We’re full go if he’s full go. It’s about winning the football game.”

Wilson cleared through the concussion protocol in time to play against Arizona this past Sunday, but the Broncos made what the first-year head coach termed an “organizational decision” to hold him out for the game.

“I feel great,” Wilson said Wednesday. “Super aware, the medical team here did a great job. To be able to heal quickly and get back on the field and be able to practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (last week), I was ready to roll. But to get an extra week and let those guys get in there, Brett (Rypien) did a great job stepping up and stepping in. I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Without Wilson, the Broncos beat the Cardinals 24-15. Denver scored just three points in the first half, but Rypien and company mounted three touchdown drives in the second half to put the Cardinals away.

“I thought we had a great team effort across the board,” Wilson said. “I thought guys made plays. ‘Ryp’ played good, really good. He got the ball out quickly on those bubbles and stuff like that. … I thought the o-line battled. The first half wasn’t the way we wanted it to be, but we really adjusted really well.”

Rypien was sacked six times in the first half, seven times overall and was hit nine times in 33 drop-backs.

Neither that number of hits nor the fact that Wilson’s been sacked 43 times this year leads to any trepidation about playing for the 34-year-old quarterback.

“I’m excited to be back on the field,” Wilson said. “I feel like we’re really catching a groove. In the Chiefs game we had an amazing comeback and were almost able to win the game – believe we could have won it. Just the ability to make plays is so important, to use my legs and use my arm, get outside the pocket. We did a great job of that in the Chiefs game.”

Before Wilson exited the Chiefs game in the fourth quarter, he was putting together perhaps his best game of the season. Wilson finished 23-of-36 for 247 yards and three passing touchdowns and also rushed for a season-best 57 yards on four carries. It marked the first time he’d exceeded 300 total offensive yards in a game since Denver’s season opener at Seattle.

“I think from that past game, we want to see him execute and get the ball out of his hands when that’s there,” Hackett said. “And then, if something happens, we don’t want him to stay in the pocket and take hits. We want him to use his legs and protect himself.”

It’s the first time in Wilson’s career he’s missed starts at two different points in the season. In nine years in Seattle, he missed only three starts last year when he had to have finger surgery. This year, he’s been on the injury report three times – for a lat injury, a hamstring injury that cost him a game, and then the concussion.

He’s been only one of many, too, but Wilson thinks the Broncos are starting to put some pieces together down the stretch of the year.


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