‘We Just Want You To Bring The Appetizer’ | Shannon Sharpe Says Russell Wilson Is Excelling Now That He’s Accepted, He’s No Longer A Superstar

When the Denver Broncos began the 2023 season, all the talk seemed to be about star quarterback Russell Wilson.

But even in his team’s struggles to begin the season, Wilson was pretty solid. After his ugly 2022 campaign, many believed that Wilson was no more than a serviceable game manager incapable of making the splash plays that guided his early Hall of fame career.

Adding insult to injury, former teammates were throwing shots at Russ left and right.

Russell Wilson Accepting His Limits

Over the first few games of the season, Broncos first-year HC Sean Payton seemed to share that sentiment as Wilson still seemed shackled offensively.

Fast-forward to the Broncos’ current five-game winning streak, it seems as if first-year head coach Sean Payton is letting Wilson do his own thing a bit more — but within reason.

So far, it’s working as Wilson’s off-schedule playmaking along with a strong running game and steadily rising defense has completely turned the Broncos’ season around. It’s something that ESPN’s Shannon Sharpe has noticed, and he couldn’t wait to add his pizazz to it. 

Sharpe Says Don’t Let Russ Cook

During Monday’s episode of “First Take,” Sharpe, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Broncos likes what Payton is doing with Russ and his former team as a whole. He wants to see them stay with what they’re doing and not change a thing. 

“I think Sean Payton came to a realization. In Seattle they had a saying: ‘Let Russ Cook.’ But I think Sean Payton said, ‘Russ, we’re not gonna let you cook. We just want you to be the appetizer.’ And so that’s what he’s done. Less is more.”

That he has. In fact, during the team’s five-game winning streak Wilson has passed for just 894 yards, but eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. The most impressive thing Wilson has done is put his ego aside and accept the fact that, yes, he’s still very good but not the Seattle version of himself anymore.

This season Wilson has a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio with 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions. 


With the playoff experience of Payton and Wilson combined, the rest of the AFC should be on notice if this team somehow sneaks in after their 1-5 start. Both Payton and Wilson have hoisted that Lombardi Trophy before, and despite their slow start they have a real shot at postseason football. 

That’s something that looked like an afterthought in mid-October when they were headed towards a fire sale in the Mile High City. 

In his playoff career Payton is 9-8, while Wilson is 9-7. 

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