Englewood, Colorado. — Denver Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner and general manager George Patton said Tuesday that they believe in the quarterback’s future. Russell Wilson And that he had played below par for much of the season was not the driving factor in the decision to sack Nathaniel Hackett on Monday.
The two men, who are starting the franchise’s fourth head coach search since January 2017 and their third since January 2019, said they believe Wilson can return to the level of play earlier in his career.
“The decision to have Russell here is long-term,” Benner said inside the team’s conference room at the Broncos’ suburban Denver facility. “This season has not lived up to his standards or his expectations. We’ve seen a few glimpses of him in the last few weeks. He knows he can play better; we know he can play better; and we know he’s going to do the right work on the outside to be ready for next year.” .
The Broncos traded five draft picks, including a 2023 first-round pick who is now expected to be a top three pick in the draft next April, as well as three players to the Seattle Seahawks this past March in exchange for Wilson. The Broncos then signed Wilson, in early September, to a five-year, $245 million contract extension.
But aside from a few flashes in parts of the games, Wilson has seemed out of sync all season, missing open receivers and unable to find much consistency. He’s on track for a career low in touchdown passes — he has 12 in 13 starts — and he’s been sacked the league 49 times in those 13 games (3.8 sacks per game) even though he missed two games this season with an injury.
If Wilson, 34, is sacked three more times over the last two games of the season, he will set a career mark in that category. The Broncos are also the lowest-scoring team in the league at 15.5 points per game and have had 11 games this season when they scored 17 points or fewer, 9 of those 11 losses.
But both Benner and Button stressed that a coaching change was made not to fix Wilson but to make Wilson play better as part of a critical review of “the whole organisation”.
“Ross said he didn’t play at his level… He’ll be the first to tell you he didn’t play at his level, he didn’t play at our level, he should have been,” Button said. “I don’t think we made a coaching move based on Ross. That wasn’t all he was about, and that’s not why we got a new coach to change Ross. It is about the entire organization. … Not whether or not Ross is salvageable. We think it is; We do it.”
Penner also said Hackett wasn’t fired just for playing Wilson or for a 37-point loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
“You have to look at the full body of work. For a number of reasons, it just wasn’t quite right,” Benner said.
Benner said the team is already evaluating candidates he hopes to interview for the job, adding, “We have to get it right.” When asked if any current assistants would be considered for the job, Button only offered defensive coordinator Ejiro Eveiro as a candidate they would like to interview.
The Walton-Penner Group, headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton, was approved by the NFL in August as the Broncos’ new ownership. Button had already led the search and interviews with 10 candidates before Hackett was hired last January and the trade for Wilson was made in March, but the group was in place when the team signed Wilson to an extension.
Button, who was appointed in January 2021 as the team’s general manager, on Tuesday addressed his decision to hire Hackett earlier this year, saying he “believes in the decision at the time.”
“It didn’t work here [for Hackett]And this is Ali. “I take full responsibility for where we are as a football team,” said Button. I brought most of the players. These are my decisions and no one to blame but me. And I just want to be clear, it’s not just about coaching, it’s not just about Nathaniel. This is about the whole football process.”
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