Russ-O-Meter: Wilson sits and that reveals the Broncos’ real issue

Oct 25, 2022, 6:36 AM
Russell Wilson...
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Nobody honestly thought Brett Rypien was better than Russell Wilson but could the healthy backup be better than the banged-up star? It was a legit question, and the answer was a resounding: it looked the same.

Rypien wasn’t great against the Jets, as Wilson sat with a hamstring injury. The longtime Broncos backup wasn’t so bad either, but again the Denver Broncos offense only mustered nine points. This leads to a new question: what if the disaster season Denver is having, led by the NFL’s worst offense, isn’t Wilson’s fault? What if rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett and the offensive staff should be blamed?

In the weekly “Russ-O-Meter,” we’ll grade and cover what’s gone on in the wide world of Wilson this week. The meter represents how psyched Broncos Country is with Russell.

Meter: 2 (1)

Stat line: N/A

The Broncos’ 16-9 home loss to the Jets was another stinker as the offense goes through a historically bad stretch of play. The insane outlier, coupled with the fact that the same issues popped up for Rypien that have for Wilson, has led to some hope in a weird way for Wilson. While nobody will dispute Wilson’s poor play, it is reasonable to think he hasn’t been given the fairest shake. And even with the issues, the Broncos coaching staff isn’t making changes any time soon.

Above that, Denver seems to lack depth, high-end talent at key positions, and a coherent plan moving forward. It may not just be a Hackett issue but one that climbs to George Paton.

The 2022 season is a lost one for the Broncos and probably Wilson too. Still, Denver is married to the man through 2026, at the very least.

As the Broncos consider a pre-trade deadline sale ahead of their bye week, it’s worth monitoring who Wilson establishes chemistry with in the second half of the season.

Wilson is likely to play for the Broncos in London on Saturday. And though the Broncos are 2-5 and virtually out of playoff hope, it’s worth considering that six of their seven games have been one-score contests. The defense has been great to this point, and what if just a few things change above Wilson that allow him to complete the Broncos team?

That’s unlikely this season, especially considering the mounting injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

Also worth noting on the trade front is just how many draft picks the Broncos can collect and how high can they get those picks. They’ll need to recover some of the value they sent to Seattle in the trade for Wilson, and there’s a good chance the Broncos sent two top-10 picks. Should the Broncos be eyeing a quarterback in the draft to be a cheap backup to Wilson and a future cost-effective replacement that allows Denver to move off the contract? All of this is fascinating as the Broncos’ veteran quarterback struggles to stay healthy and capture his past stardom.

A few things can be true: Wilson has struggled this season, and Russ is not why the Broncos are having a sorry season.



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