MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: Vintage Wilson arrived just in time on Sunday night

Sep 26, 2022, 6:33 AM
Russell Wilson in the huddle...
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos were able to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night by a score of 11-10. That’s only the second time in modern NFL history that score has come up as a final, with the last time being in 2008. The odd score was due to a safety and plenty of punts by both teams all throughout the night.

I like when the Broncos win back-to-back games. They’re off to a good start at 2-1, and they are building momentum to carry themselves forward with improved play.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Vintage Wilson

During the game against the 49ers, I was getting a lot of questions about why Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson was not running as much as he used to. There are plenty of misconceptions about Wilson, mostly propagated from Seattle fans and media who say that Wilson is done as a running quarterback who is past his prime. Having seen every day of OTAs, mandatory minicamp and training camp, it was easy for me to declare that Wilson is still capable of being a threat with his legs.

As the game against the 49ers went on, the offense was dragging, and Wilson seemed to avoid perfect opportunities to run the ball himself. I believe, as many others in the local media do, that he’s been told to run less. I don’t think it’s a direct order, but I’m sure that the coaching staff has suggested to Wilson that he could run less and keep his eyes open as a passer instead. That’s a good direction for him to head as he gets older, but there are times when he needs to take things into his own hands…with his legs.

Wilson ran six times for 17 yards against the 49ers on Sunday night. That’s not a great yards per carry average of 2.8, but it was when Wilson chose to run that helped the Broncos greatly. With the game on the line and fourth down looming, Wilson had a 12-yard carry to move the chains and keep a scoring drive alive late in the game. It’s that decision, and his other late scrambles, that helped put the Broncos over the top. The 49ers defense had great coverage at times, but when they did Wilson found that he could beat them on the ground.

This offense showed glimpses of what it could be, and it looks great when things are firing on all cylinders. The more Wilson gets comfortable with this offense, the better the play on that side of the ball will be. I don’t think Wilson is washed up. I don’t think Wilson is incapable of running anymore. Yes, he won’t run 10 times a game like he did in his first couple of pro seasons, but I could see Wilson running 3-5 times per game to keep defenses on their toes. When he started running against the 49ers, the Broncos offense hit their stride.

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Taking Ownership

I’m incredibly inspired by the Walton-Penner Group. When I’ve talked or written about the Broncos being a dynasty, it has more to do with the owners than it does the coaching staff or even the current players on the field. Yes, better coaching and better players are what leads to multiple championships, but it all starts at the top to me.

The Broncos have the group of owners who want to win, and they know how to be successful from the business world. That level of success is unrivaled by any of the other owners around the NFL. The Walton-Penner Group is why I think the Broncos can get more than one Super Bowl ring with Wilson at quarterback. After years of not knowing if the Bowlen family would continue their ownership of the team, it’s refreshing to see this ownership group be so active right off the bat.

Greg Penner is the CEO of the Broncos, and he’s running the show. The buck stops with the Walton-Penner ownership group, and they didn’t spend a record $4.5 billion on the Broncos to be mediocre. They’re here to win championships. Now, the Broncos have a ton of work to do in order to get there, but they finally have a group of people and someone to answer to. Settling for being good just isn’t good enough. The Walton-Penner group has had incredible success in the business world, and they’ll use that experience to help push the Broncos over the top as soon as possible.

Having a real owner is great for the Broncos. This is putting pressure on the team to perform, and I think that’s why the team is responding as such. If you’re Nathaniel Hackett, you cannot take your time getting up to speed as a head coach in the NFL. Hackett must speed up his learning curve as a head coach, and I believe he knows there is pressure to perform. The Walton-Penner group has already committed to Wilson as their future. If Hackett does not perform, he will be replaced. It’s as simple as that.

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People Don’t Change

There is an old saying that people don’t change. I don’t necessarily agree with that mantra, but in the case of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo it’s true. As I wrote last week, one of the three keys to victory was letting Jimmy be Jimmy.

Even those around the 49ers will tell you that Garoppolo will make errant passes that defy explanation a few times a game. If the 49ers can run the ball, this limits the number of throws Garoppolo has which minimizes the chances for a bad play to happen. However, if the 49ers are forced to go away from the rushing attack, as they were late in the game against the Broncos, then Garoppolo will make a bad play.

The Broncos defense was flying all over the field. They had six quarterback hits and 4.0 sacks against the 49ers on Sunday night. Garoppolo was under fire all night, and that pressure led to mistakes. He ended up with one interception and one fumble, with these two turnovers costing the 49ers the game. Denver was patient through their offensive woes, but the defense was ready to take advantage when Garoppolo made a mistake.

The downfall for the 49ers had to do with the play of Garoppolo. I felt it was bad for the Broncos when Trey Lance got hurt last week. Lance has unknown upside, but the second-year quarterback doesn’t yet know what he’s doing. Garoppolo lacks the upside of Lance, but he knows the system and has plenty of experience as a starter in the NFL. There’s a ton of film on Garoppolo, and teams know that he will make some ill-advised throws if you let him.

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Fan Expo Fun

Over the weekend, I was a featured artist at the All C’s Fan Expo in Denver. As the owner of an independent comic book company, I continue to learn and grow with my up-and-coming small business. I feel great to have the following I do which allows me a nice, featured spot in local shows and comic book shops.

It’s always been my dream to be a comic book artist, but life has a way of taking you in a different direction. As a younger artist, I didn’t believe in myself and quickly gave up on my dream of working on comic books with the slightest adversity. Now that I’m older, I still want to make my dream come true and I’m much more focused and driven than I used to be. I’ve taken the drive I used to become a media member, and I’m using that same energy to see how far I can make it in the art world.

Over three days, it was fun to talk to fans and promote my comic books. I’ve hired some great artists, and I’ve got eight IPs (intellectual properties) that I’m working on to attack the movie and comic book worlds at the same time. In the near future, I will be crowdfunding these projects on sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Most people know me from my football broadcasting career, and it was cool to talk Broncos in addition to some of my properties like “Fake Boos”, “Suimmortal”, and “Ghost Gun.” Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table and picked up some promotional art from Smokin Gun Studios.

What did you think of the Fan Expo? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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