Broncos QB Russell Wilson starts fresh against Raiders

Broncos QB Russell Wilson starts fresh against Raiders

Russell Wilson was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season after a sustained run of success with the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson’s second season with the Denver Broncos starts Sunday against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders and it will be his first game under new coach Sean Payton, the highly successful former leader of the New Orleans Saints.

Wilson was a colossal flop under 2022 coach Nathaniel Hackett, and Payton’s biggest chore is getting the nine-time Pro Bowler to return to his past form.

Wilson said he doesn’t feel any pressure to bounce back from a campaign that included a career-low 16 touchdown passes.

“Last year is last year,” Wilson said. “It wasn’t anything that I ever wanted in terms of expectations in how I expect to play. You take the good with the bad, the mountains with the valleys. … I’m just ready to play football.”

Payton is in charge of overseeing Wilson’s revival as well as turning around the fortunes of the Broncos. Denver went 5-12 in 2022 while missing the playoffs for the seventh straight season.

Payton reportedly strongly rebuked Wilson’s penchant for worrying about his brand and encouraged him to focus more on football. Their relationship will come under close scrutiny during the season.

“I think throughout the course of the spring training camp, we got a pretty good grasp as to the man’s strengths, the things that he does well,” Payton said of Wilson.

The Raiders (6-11 last season) have beaten the Broncos six straight times and aim to extend the streak under new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Las Vegas parted ways with Derek Carr after last season, and Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco was over despite a 40-17 regular-season record as a starter in six seasons. Brock Purdy’s second-half play in 2022 made Garoppolo expendable.

“I haven’t really gotten into that conservation,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said of Garoppolo’s exit with the 49ers. “I think Jimmy is a competitive person by nature and wants to do his best, prepare hard, work as hard as he possibly can to be the best version of himself that he can be for our team.

“I don’t really know how much he hangs on to things that happened in the past. I think he had a really successful tenure there in San Francisco.”

Garoppolo has two big-time playmakers to work with, running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Davante Adams. Jacobs led the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards last season while Adams had an NFL-leading 14 scoring receptions.

Las Vegas has a star defensive end, Maxx Crosby (league-best 22 tackles for loss last season), but fellow defensive end Chandler Jones is away from the team after sharply criticizing the organization on social media on Tuesday. McDaniels said he didn’t know whether Jones would play Sunday.

“It’s a personal situation, it’s a private matter,” McDaniels said. “If you want to talk about the game on Sunday, I’ll be excited to talk about the game.”

The Broncos added pass rusher Frank Clark (58.5 career sacks) to a defense that includes linebacker Alex Singleton (career-high 163 combined tackles in 2022) and safety Justin Simmons (tied for NFL lead with six interceptions).

Clark was a teammate of Wilson for four seasons (2015-18) in Seattle.

“Russ is a veteran who’s won on multiple levels, he’s been part of successful teams, he’s been part of teams that were not successful,” Clark said. “… But it was the same Russ, so don’t think Russ changed or a bad season is going to shake a guy.”

Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich (personal) missed Wednesday’s practice. Receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring), tight end Chris Manhertz (chest) and cornerback Riley Moss (abdomen) were limited.

In addition to Jones, cornerback Brandon Facyson (shin) missed Wednesday’s practice for Las Vegas. Receiver DeAndre Carter (knee) was limited.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.