Russell Wilson was introduced as the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos this week. After a decade of sensational plays and clutch moments while carrying the Seattle Seahawks franchise to winning seasons, two Super Bowls and the franchise’s only Lombardi Trophy, Wilson hustled out of the Pacific Northwest and not only changed teams, but also changed conferences.
It’s a quick four-hour flight, certainly not the family upheaval that moving to the East Coast would have been.
"#BroncosCountry, let's ride."
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 16, 2022
Wilson will take his talents to the AFC West, where football analyst Dan Orlovsky believes that with the addition of Wilson, the Broncos who face elite signal callers Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a season, now have the division’s best offense.
It’s a bold proclamation that expectedly met some pushback.
“It’s not only the Russell Wilson addition,” Orlovsky said Thursday on “First Take.” “It’s also Nathaniel Hackett, their head coach that comes from the Kyle Shanahan-Mike Shanahan-Matt Lefleur offensive tree. The talent in this division is fantastic on offense, but there’s only one scheme I know that when defenses force you to run the football you can.
“That’s the Denver Broncos with that run scheme. Javonte Williams is a fantastic young back, and they have two receivers on this offense who average for their young careers14 yards per catch. That’s Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, and they did this with guys that are significantly lesser quarterbacks than Russell Wilson. “
Orlovsky set the bar high in Colorado for the uber-confident Wilson, who said, “My goal is to play 10 or 12 more years and hopefully win three, four more Super Bowls.”
As he enters the second chapter of a storied career, winning a second Super Bowl would put the future Hall of Famer in rarified standing among the 15 quarterbacks in NFL history with multiple titles (as starter or backup).
Mahomes, Eric Bieniemy and Andy Reid must be looking at “First Take” and wondering how they’ve dominated the NFL offensively over the past four seasons but have to take a back seat to Russell Wilson in his first season with a team that went 7-10 last year.
The “Russell Wilson Effect” is so polarizing that opinions surrounding the elite signal caller are often split, with analysts such as Ryan Clark downplaying the effectiveness of Wilson and refusing to list him among the game’s elite quarterbacks.
Then you have dudes like Orlovsky, who played the position, supporting the idea that Russ is an instant franchise rejuvenator and can take the Broncos from decent to damn good as he’s done his entire career in Seattle.
“I know David Carr and the Raiders offense is very good,” Orlovsky said. “And the Chiefs are who the Chiefs are with Patrick Mahomes. But when it comes to ability to do whatever is necessary according to what the defense is going to force you to do, only one offense can answer the question ‘yes we can,’ and that’s Denver.”
The underlying disrespect for Mahomes is just oozing through the television screen, at the same time it’s refreshing to hear an analyst present Wilson’s legacy in its proper perspective.
Wilson certainly could have picked a less-competitive destination to go to, but he previously said he wasn’t going to the East Coast, which eliminated the Washington Commanders, New York Giants, and Carolina Panthers from contention.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 16, 2022
Orlovsky’s co-host Stephen A. Smith almost fell out of his seat in disbelief, arguing that the Chargers and Kansas City have high-powered offenses with top-five quarterbacks and Russ and Denver are yet to hit the field.
Smith didn’t disagree with the fact that DangerRuss is a game-changer, but he thinks Orlovsky is spitting a bit of hyperbole. Even with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, two Pro Bowl-caliber receivers, the Seattle offense was stagnant at times.
“That doesn’t necessarily automatically elevate them to the stratosphere that you’re trying to put them in,” Smith said.
We will just have to wait and see who is right. Passionate conversations such as these in the month of March is one of the many reasons why the NFL is a 365-day-a-year sport and most popular viewing pleasure for American sports fans.