Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson on Making Changes to his Process: ‘Absolutely Not’
If ever there was a ‘must-win’ game for a team at the Week 6 juncture, this would be it for the Denver Broncos. Entering their fourth primetime game in six weeks, the Broncos are at a critical point in the season with a Monday Night Football road tilt at the Los Angeles Chargers next on the docket.
This could be a timely turning point for the Broncos — if Russell Wilson still has what it takes to play at a high level. The Chargers currently field one of the worst defenses in the NFL, despite the unit featuring some great talent.
Wilson may have seemed shaken at the podium following the Broncos’ Week 5 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but the next time we got to hear from the 11th-year veteran, he was singing a different tune. All the goals the Broncos set entering the 2022 season, despite the myopic situation they’re currently in, are still on the table at 2-3 and that’s what Wilson is focused on.
“I’ve been in tough times before and come out on the other end of it—gone to the playoffs and all of those other great things,” Wilson said on Friday. “Everything that we want is still in front of us. We have to play great this week and keep going.”
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Indeed, if Wilson is able to help turn things around in Denver, it won’t be the first time a season has opened with a whimper and closed with a bang. Although it has looked far too similar to, say, the Joe Flacco or Case Keenum-led Broncos squads of the recent past, Wilson is a different animal than either of those two quarterbacks meant to be a quick fix for the franchise.
Adding Flacco or Keenum was Denver’s attempt to put a band-aid over a bullet hole. Neither quarterback ever proved to have the wherewithal to put a team on his shoulders.
Wilson didn’t have to do that early on in his career, but the past few seasons in Seattle, he did. He has that pedigree and track record. That doesn’t guarantee that Wilson will shepherd the Broncos to success this season, but he has the resume.
Maybe that’s why Wilson responded so definitively when asked whether he’d changed anything about his ‘process’ during this 11-day break between games.
“Absolutely not, no,” Wilson said. “No. I’ve been doing it for 10 years at a high level. I trust my process; I trust how I prepare… You stay, you work your butt off, you stay focused on the process, you stay focused on what you know and keep believing in that. At the same time, you’re battling through stuff as well, physically. That’s all a part of it. It’s football and it’s what you love to do. It’s never supposed to be easy.”
Wilson is a nine-time Pro Bowler and the winningest quarterback in NFL history through his first 10 years (113 victories entering 2022). But his 10-year reign happened in another city.
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It’s possible that Wilson misjudged how challenging it would be to start over in a new NFL city, with new coaches, weapons, and teammates. Perhaps that’s the biggest component to why he’s struggled early on, but it’s no excuse.
“For me, there’s not necessarily challenging parts, it’s just new parts,” Wilson said. “It’s newness, it’s figuring out all the little pieces and puzzles. You’re trying to build a map. You’re trying to build—you’re a puzzle maker. You’re trying to put all of the pieces together. Sometimes, you have to find and search for that one puzzle piece to finish out what you want and where you’re going and where we’re going as a team. We’re putting all of those puzzle pieces together, and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t fear obstacles. I know a lot of people think you get tight, you get worried, this and that. I don’t worry, I don’t ever worry.”
If Wilson plays well and the Broncos upset the Chargers on Monday night, much of the air will be relieved from this pressurized thunderhead that has followed this team around the past couple of weeks. An authoritative win with a signature Wilson performance would assuage a lot of concerns, not just in the Mile High City, but in the NFL world at large.
You know the old saying, though: If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we all would have a merry Christmas.
Denver’s starting left guard Dalton Risner has a famous saying all his own: “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
Indeed, Broncos Country is tired of hearing the talk and the promises of better things to come. It’s time for Wilson to go out there and be about it.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.