DROP THE MIKE

Broncos Country, get ready for “Camp Everything is Awesome!”

Jul 27, 2022, 5:48 AM
Russell Wilson...
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Here we go with the start of the Russell Wilson/Nathaniel Hackett era. This has been an offseason of unrelenting energy and optimism. It’s been an offseason that has sprung new slogans like “Let’s Ride” and “Embrace the Process.”

Now, it’s time to get on the field and get down to business. Here are some of the key storylines to follow during “Camp Everything is Awesome!”

• What does a Hackett run training camp look like? At Tuesday’s media BBQ, general manager George Paton praised Hackett for having “re-booted the building.” Paton also said Hackett brings an incredible amount of innovation. But listening to Hackett, I heard the coach preaching some patience in regards to the offense. Hackett said the coaching staff is still learning what the players can and cannot do. He feels keeping players fresh during the long haul is very important. That implies that could cut into the amount of reps guys receive. He also stressed that “it’s about December football.” Sounds to me like a coach who understands there are some growing pains ahead.

• That’s understandable. If you look at the first seasons for great quarterbacks who were playing for a new team and a new coach, their numbers don’t really take off until after an adjustment period that lasts at least the first part of the season. We all saw it with Peyton Manning here with the Broncos. Aaron Rodgers with Matt Lafleur in Green Bay and Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. I expect that to be the case with Russell Wilson.

• The good news is this gives the defense a chance to make their mark early. A key storyline for this camp is how does Ejiro Evero put his stamp on this defense? Will Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb prove their doubters wrong and be a dominant pass rushing duo? Is Baron Browning set for a breakout year? Can the secondary be one of the best in the NFL? The Broncos have been given a gift in that the quarterbacks they face in the first three weeks of the season will be Geno Smith/Drew Lock, Davis Mills and Trey Lance. The defense should feast and the Broncos must start 3-0 to have a realistic shot of winning 11 games.

• And of course all things Russell Wilson. Funny that most of the questions for Paton and Hackett revolved around Wilson’s “team” that created so many issues in Seattle. Paton was very complimentary of Russ’ people and said they are “part of the Broncos family.” Despite the warnings from Seattle, I’m going to believe this is going to work out. The Broncos go into this with eyes wide open. Hey, they’ve been wandering around the NFL desert for six years now looking for a quarterback. Going through that will create some desperation. So for the time being, whatever Russ wants, Russ gets.

• For me, the biggest Wilson-related storyline is can he take his game to the next level? Mike Sando of The Athletic listed his NFL quarterbacks by tiers. Wilson didn’t crack Tier One in part because he does have a hole in his game. Wilson tends to hold onto the ball too long which leads to sacks and the occasional turnover. It will be Hackett’s No. 1 goal to convince Wilson that getting rid of the ball quickly and taking easy completions when they are available will complement his beautiful deep ball game and put him squarely in the class of the top five quarterbacks in the game.

***

Drop the Mike

Melvin Gordon...
Mike Evans

Broncos Country needs to rally around Melvin Gordon on Thursday

In a short week, heading into a game that feels like a tipping point of the season, Denver has no other options than their much-maligned back
17 hours ago
Josh McDaniels...
Mike Evans

The Broncos can’t lose to the most-hated person in franchise history

Josh McDaniels was a disaster as a head coach in Denver; now, the villain has taken over the franchise's most-bitter rival and it's wonderful
8 days ago
Nathan MacKinnon...
Mike Evans

With mega-contract from the Avs, Nathan MacKinnon gets his due

He's a player who is demanding of himself and teammates, a trait that helped bring the Stanley Cup to Colorado and earn him millions
15 days ago
Nathaniel Hackett...
Mike Evans

The honeymoon is already over for Nathaniel Hackett in Denver

With six months of momentum at his back, the Broncos new head coach lost it all on Monday night in Seattle, thanks to countless blunders
22 days ago
Nathaniel Hackett...
Mike Evans

Who will get blamed if the Broncos miss the playoffs this season?

If Denver doesn't live up to expectations this season, there will be no shortage of people to point the finger of blame at come January
29 days ago
Russell Wilson...
Mike Evans

Confidence in the 2022 Broncos is already starting to erode

With too much time to analyze the situation, Denver is looking less and less like a playoff team and more like a franchise in transition
1 month ago
Broncos Country, get ready for “Camp Everything is Awesome!”