Whether Russell Wilson saw it that way or not, a trade from Seattle to anywhere else was always going to be the biggest risk of his career. How lucky we’d all be if the giant leap of faith in our personal lives could also come with $124 million in guaranteed money.
But if narrative control is anything Wilson cares about, these are terrible times. The Broncos have averaged 15 points in their first five games and haven’t topped 23. Their overtime loss to the Colts on Thursday night was so bad that Kirk Herbstreit called their overall offensive performance “horrible” against the duration of the transmission. So far, most of the burden has been shouldered by new Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett, with constant references to time management hiccups and myriad cut shots of the team’s new assistant coach brought in to help with those issues.
At some point, will he finally turn to Wilson, who, in Denver, looks like a more grassroots version of what he was in Seattle? His theatrics, which we widely celebrated as a football viewing audience (and as a print magazine) are half-speed now or gone entirely. In his attempt to throw the game-winning touchdown on Thursday, he had enough time to sit in the pocket and ignore an open receiver to his right while locking down the receiver guarded by one of the craftiest veterans in football (Stefon Gilmore, who had get Wilson in the red zone a few minutes early). This is inexcusable for a veteran quarterback with a decade of experience and perhaps explains why his manager may have initially favored long goals in crunch situations.
In Seattle, Wilson was always comfortable with the idea that Pete Carroll loved to run the ball, and that love somehow robbed Wilson of more opportunities to be a spectacular player. The lack of MVP votes – let alone for the actual awards – became a rallying cry that many of us (raises hand) parroted without a second thought. It was easier to believe that an old-school septuagenarian was blocking Wilson than it was to believe that Wilson might have some limitations as a player that were actually covered well schematically and benefited from all the “life-saving” maneuvers the Seahawks made, ostensibly to make peace him, such as the acquisition of Duane Brown and the hiring of Shane Waldron from the Sean McVay tree.
Select press reports for that era of Seattle football, of which there were many. We were all tickled by the idea that Wilson was “liberated” in Denver by a system that reshaped Aaron Rodgers’ career and saved Ryan Tannehill, while ignoring what a fair number of anonymous teammates, coaches and individuals were trying to tell us. years: Wilson is not blameless here. He may not be the convenient sympathetic figure we all made him out to be.
There’s a long way to go in the 2022 season, and we’re not (yet) looking at a Seahawks team without Wilson for evidence of how Geno Smith can help put up 48 points a game when Wilson seems to take about a month to to do this. We’re not ready to declare Carroll the winner in the court of public opinion or offer some kind of hazard pay for Marshawn Lynch and the Legion of Boom. But we’ll start to expand the narrative beyond “his coach is bad” and wonder if the push to get him in Denver was spearheaded by some of the same smoke and mirrors that got us to this place of utter disappointment on Thursday.
At this point, there are two distinct possibilities:
One is that Wilson is really spoiled. That both Carroll and Hackett have, to some extent, failed him or are now failing him.
The other is that Wilson may have performed flawlessly with one of the best supporting casts in recent NFL history in Seattle, and now he’s doing it again in Denver where, despite some critical injuries on offense, there’s still a perfectly adequate offensive line. and skill-position player pool that is preferable to many other teams in the NFL.
After Thursday night, there are fewer people who believe the former. Wilson should have known this could happen once he left the Pacific Northwest. Now, finally, it’s up to him and him alone to show us what the truth is, and maybe it has been all along.
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