Hackett has key insight on Wilson scrambling, taking hits and quick passes

Aug 23, 2022, 12:46 PM
Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wislon...
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Everyone knows the Denver Broncos are in trouble if Russell Wilson gets hurt.

And the quickest way for him to get hurt is take unnecessary hits.

Wilson was sacked 47 times in 2020, good for third most in the NFL. He was sacked 33 times in 2021, but didn’t play all 17 games. It’s been a knock on Wilson for years, that he holds onto the football too long.

At his press conference on Tuesday, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about the balance of letting Wilson scramble, something he’s very good at, but also getting rid of the ball in a timely manner.

“We talk about the intention of the play. What we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to attack and why, so that he knows when to throw to that No. 1 or progress on to two. As a coach, you always plan on never getting past two. The idea is to limit those as much as possible. We don’t ever want him to get touched,” Hackett said.

Obviously if Wilson runs the football, he is going to get touched. Hackett isn’t against him running, but doesn’t want that to ever be the top option.

“We want to get that ball out. We want to understand the intention, we want to protect him. And then we want to him to do what he does when it breaks down. But if it doesn’t break down that way we want the ball out,” Hackett said.

Wilson had been running for his life a lot in Seattle, as evidenced by the sacks and a perceived weaker offensive line. Hackett said he wants his West Coast offense to be “efficient” this season, and understands Wilson needs a break from taking so many hits.

“I don’t think he wants to live in that world. I don’t think anybody does. We want him to play ten years here. 12 years. 15 years. And the way you do that is by running the ball and protecting the quarterback. Those are the two most important things,” Hackett said. “I think he understands that and sees that. Up to this point he’s being do a great job, so we’ll find out when we get to live action.”

And that live action won’t come on Saturday in the preseason finale, but rather in Week 1 when Wilson returns to Seattle to face the Seahawks.

He knows what his coach wants to see, and that’s quick decision making and a lot of efficient throws. All that should lead to hopefully fewer sacks and a longer career with the Broncos.



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