Russell Wilson turns 34 today

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It would be fair to say that the career of Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson is at a crossroads. Yes, the new contract he signed in late August gives him significant financial security, and it forces the Broncos to try to make it work for a few more years. Even then, it’s unclear where it goes from here for a guy who won a Super Bowl in his second NFL season, and got to a second one in his third.

Today, Wilson turns 34. (Happy birthday.) He has said repeatedly that he wants to play until he’s 45. Before this year, it wasn’t a crazy proposition. Now, some are wondering whether he’ll be playing when he turns 35.

It’s an unraveling that surely will spawn various think pieces and #longreads and maybe even a book or two. (And, undoubtedly, a chapter in Playmakers II. Buy Playmakers I now and get a free signed, personalized bookplate, by the way.)

Has Wilson suddenly lost his ability to play at a high level? Are the Broncos failing to use him the right way? Were the Seahawks simply crafting the best possible offense to maximize his skills, and to minimize his flaws? Was the trade that sent Wilson to Denver one of the great football grifts of all time?

And why would Wilson, if he had any inkling that Pete Carroll was propping him up, want to go somewhere else and allow everyone to figure out that he’s not capable of being a franchise quarterback through whom an offense runs?

It’s likely a combination of factors, exacerbated by the fact that Wilson has lost some of his mobility. And maybe he has lost just enough faith in his mobility to make him just a little too tentative.

Regardless, Wilson has slid from the top 10 of the league’s quarterbacks. Actually, he’s no longer in the top half. He’s arguably not even in the top 20.

The Broncos will have every reason to try to get him back into the top 20, the top half, and ideally the top 10. It going to require major changes, probably including a new head coach. Someone with a plan to get the most out of Wilson, and with the confidence that he can do it.

42 responses to “Russell Wilson turns 34 today

  1. The rest of the AFC West wishes him a very Happy Birthday and many more years of being behind center for the Broncos

  2. QBs get too much of the blame and too much credit for how the team does. When Wilson was winning he wasn’t a top 10 QB. He wasn’t asked to do a lot and it worked for him. Those Seahawk teams were defensive run the ball type of teams. When it came to “Let Russell Cook” it failed. He is the type of QB, like Hurts in Philly, that can ride a great to team to the promise land but the moment you pay him a big contract and can’t surround him with talent he will look less than ordinary. Wilson would be great in SF but so would about a dozen other below average QBs, like Jimmy G.

  3. He hasn’t “suddenly declined”. Only the casuals think so. Anyone paying attention noticed a decline before this. There’s a reason he clashed with Seattle and it isn’t just because he’s dorky.

  4. They need to quit referring to him as a future Hall of Famer. He’s not. Hackett will be gone and so should Paton for paying the guy and giving up all those picks. The picks are bad enough but then locking in the money is treasonous.

  5. Actually, he’s no longer in the top half. He’s arguably not even in the top 20.

    —————-

    Keep going …

    He’s looked bad the last couple of years but it got blamed on the coaching for not letting him pass all the time. The media ran with that narrative and the media was wrong.

  6. Russell Wilson seems to cause some of his own problems in the locker room, but being saddled with a clueless head coach who isn’t even competent enough to call his own plays anymore probably has more to do with Wilson’s struggles.

  7. hes declined but he fell off quickly. two years ago he was an MVP candidate and was probably playing the best football of his career.

  8. He says he wants to play into his 40s Good luck with that kid He washed as anybody we’ve seen in the NFL in years. Fire the GM and the coach and start over again next year.

  9. Wilson was never a great pocket passer but he was good enough so when opposing D overcommitted to stop the run, by both RBs and QB, he could make the passes. The problem comes in when they can stop or at least slow the running without over committing and still have a good pass D. Great pocket passers like Brady, Payton and Rogers can make enough of those passes even when the pass D is waiting for it. I used to think Wilson could too. Apparently I was wrong.

  10. May as well be a hundred and thirty four based on his inept play so far. Not to mention the diva acts.

  11. Russell can play as long as he wants. He’s still playing at a HOF level. He joined an organization with a coach who’s never coached a team. An owner who’s never owned a team. New coaching staffs and playbooks on offense and defense. The coach and the owner might someday join Russell in the HOF, even if that looks highly improbable right now. Sometimes you have to tear it down to build it right. Jerry Jones did it. DeBartolo did it.

  12. Suddenly lost his ability to play at a high level?????? Take a look at the second half of each of his last 3 seasons. It isn’t ‘sudden’

  13. I couldn’t say whether it’s the greatest swindling the NFL has seen. Andy Reid had no problem shipping McNabb to a division rival the second he smelled his skills were on the rocks, and followed that up by sending Kolb to Arizona for a nice mint. And he managed to get Vick at a bargain and coached him up to be the player he should have been in Atlanta.

    So far though, Pete is doing a bang up job following the formula.

  14. Russels been living off that Super Bowl win for over a decade, and he hasn’t been a “great” QB for a very long time. People laughed at Seattle for letting him walk, but who’s laughing now? All Denver needed was a QB and they got swindled for this guy. A wanna be HOFer who’s just an average QB.

  15. Every since Tom Brady began eclipsing—over and over—of what everyone thought was impossible to accomplish as you go from 38 to whenever he’ll decide to stop, they started publically announcing, “I aim to play until I’m 45.”

    It sounds ridiculous every time. Only one guy in history has performed at the top of his game this long. They think they can be him.

    They can’t, and what’s more, they never were.

  16. Can anyone point me to a season where a QB lost 3/5 of his OLine (including being down to 3rd center), top offensive talent at RB, half of his WRs for half of the season, and found success with a first-time HC?

    Anyone?

    Because the injury-decimated OLine has Russ by far the most sacked+knocked down QB in the league. And two penalties shy of leading the league in false starts. In fact, the first time HC has the team so undisciplined that they lead the league in penalties and penalized yards. They had to cut their starting RB after he fumbled every other game, half of which were within the 10 yard line. Yeah, that’s all totally Russ’s fault.

    Anyone know a QB who’s thrived on a new team while being the most hit while throwing to practice squadders, committing the most penalties? A single example?

  17. andyreidsmustache says:
    November 29, 2022 at 2:05 pm
    I couldn’t say whether it’s the greatest swindling the NFL has seen. Andy Reid had no problem shipping McNabb to a division rival the second he smelled his skills were on the rocks, and followed that up by sending Kolb to Arizona for a nice mint. And he managed to get Vick at a bargain and coached him up to be the player he should have been in Atlanta.

    —————

    You made the mistake of confusing “of all time” with what anyone who says that actually means: “of the last 2-3 years”

    The Seattle fans are spending so much brain power talking about the Russ trade as the worst trade ever, that they forget it was only a couple years ago they sent two firsts and a third for JAMAL ADAMS.

    That trade, plus the ones you mentioned, don’t even include the Bears giving up four picks to move up one spot for Mitch Trubisky, or Washington giving up three first rounders to get RG3, or classics like the Ricky Williams trade and Herschel Walker trades. No one that uses “of all time” even knows what that includes. It’s an empty buzz phrase.

  18. “You made the mistake of confusing “of all time” with what anyone who says that actually means: “of the last 2-3 years”

    The Seattle fans are spending so much brain power talking about the Russ trade as the worst trade ever, that they forget it was only a couple years ago they sent two firsts and a third for JAMAL ADAMS.

    That trade, plus the ones you mentioned, don’t even include the Bears giving up four picks to move up one spot for Mitch Trubisky, or Washington giving up three first rounders to get RG3, or classics like the Ricky Williams trade and Herschel Walker trades. No one that uses “of all time” even knows what that includes. It’s an empty buzz phrase.”

    Sure, but…
    What makes it look worse is that beyond the picks given up, they also extended his bloated contract with an even bigger anchor on their cap. It wasn’t just that they gave up a lot of draft picks but that they doubled down on their mistake without even him taking a single snap.

  19. He was in the last 5 Pro Bowls in a row, including last year. Something happened fairly suddenly. He may not have been Super Bowl Russ last year, but he could at least be above average. This year is an incredible drop off for whatever reason. If it was just the coaching I think he’d be all over Hackett’s case. Part of me wonders if he’s being passive-aggressive and intentionally playing bad until he gets his way.

  20. They have one of the least talented teams in the league, apart from Wilson himself. A few young guys who might be really good in a couple of years, several more who would have retired if it was a 28 team league….

    It was a really bad time for the Broncos to commit to a high dollar QB. Courtland Sutton is his top receiver? Jerry Jeudy his #2? It’s the kind of thing tears of despair are made of.

  21. Southpaw says:
    November 29, 2022 at 2:18 pm
    Can anyone point me to a season where a QB lost 3/5 of his OLine (including being down to 3rd center), top offensive talent at RB, half of his WRs for half of the season, and found success with a first-time HC?

    Anyone?

    Because the injury-decimated OLine has Russ by far the most sacked+knocked down QB in the league. And two penalties shy of leading the league in false starts. In fact, the first time HC has the team so undisciplined that they lead the league in penalties and penalized yards. They had to cut their starting RB after he fumbled every other game, half of which were within the 10 yard line. Yeah, that’s all totally Russ’s fault.

    Anyone know a QB who’s thrived on a new team while being the most hit while throwing to practice squadders, committing the most penalties? A single example?

    _________
    Found Russ’s burner. Get a grip. Do you think it’s any coincidence that Russ was among the most hit and sacked qb’s while in Seattle? Or do you think it might have something to do with him not being able to read a defense to audible when needed, not know how to move in the pocket and instead freeze because of imaginary pressure, hold the ball too long because he can’t see over the line and wants to play hero ball and go for the home run every other play? The guy hasn’t been good in years when he got fat and lost his mobility. Without the dual threat, he’s just not good.

  22. Southpaw says:
    November 29, 2022 at 2:18 pm
    Can anyone point me to a season where a QB lost 3/5 of his OLine (including being down to 3rd center), top offensive talent at RB, half of his WRs for half of the season, and found success with a first-time HC?

    Anyone?

    Because the injury-decimated OLine has Russ by far the most sacked+knocked down QB in the league. And two penalties shy of leading the league in false starts. In fact, the first time HC has the team so undisciplined that they lead the league in penalties and penalized yards. They had to cut their starting RB after he fumbled every other game, half of which were within the 10 yard line. Yeah, that’s all totally Russ’s fault.

    Anyone know a QB who’s thrived on a new team while being the most hit while throwing to practice squadders, committing the most penalties? A single example?

    823Rate This

    ************************************************************************************
    His Oline was intact the first 6-7 games (for the most part) and he still stunk. Russ is a BIG part of the Denver Offensive problems – not all, but A LOT!.

  23. “Sure, but…
    What makes it look worse is that beyond the picks given up, they also extended his bloated contract with an even bigger anchor on their cap. It wasn’t just that they gave up a lot of draft picks but that they doubled down on their mistake without even him taking a single snap.“

    —-

    …but that’s not the trade… that’s an extension that came months later… “worst trade of all time” is not the same as “worst contract of all time,” so not only are you moving the goalposts, but you don’t have the knowledge to call it that when it’s only just past halfway through one season into it. Knee jerk much? It hasn’t impacted any signings or the roster quality yet, so the most you’re upset about is the richest owner in the league spending money? Or the fact Russ got paid?

    Are you familiar with Cash Over Cap, and how easily it allows rich owners, I.e. the richest in Denver, to pay guaranteed money without causing huge cap ramifications?

    Also, are you as worried about the impact of other similarly earning QBs around the league? Or just the Broncos? Are the Bills, Chiefs, Browns, Rams, Cardinals, etc also approaching cap hell, and screwed for the next five years? If none of those teams win the SB, are they in any way still better contracts than Wilson’s? How about Kylers contract and how AZ is performing with him? Similar contract, only one game better than the Broncos, with worse team chemistry. Stafford’s the highest earning QB this season and the Rams have the same 3-8 record. None of this even mentions the Deshaun Watson trade/deal. So it’s not even the worst contract in the league THIS YEAR. How is it the worst ALL TIME?

  24. “Do you think it’s any coincidence that Russ was among the most hit and sacked qb’s while in Seattle?”

    You mean the team who just used half of their picks through three rounds this past draft on OT’s? It’s almost like… they knew… the OL needed help.

    And can’t call audibles? Make it more obvious you don’t watch games just blindly hate from a distance. Some of the biggest offensive plays and touchdowns have come off audibles.

  25. “ His Oline was intact the first 6-7 games (for the most part) and he still stunk.”

    …The LT went down Week 5, when they were 2-2…

  26. I remember the frustration of watching the boom or bust offense with Russell Wilson the last few years.

    I knew I wanted Bevell gone. But then came OC Shotty and things started great and it started looking the same as years before by mid season. When he was fired and they brought overs a young OC from the Rams I was finally able to admit Wilson can’t see the full field. He can’t make throws over the middle and was living off deep and seam balls.

  27. Hawk fans knew it 2 years ago, keep Russ in the pocket and he will be sacked. If not the ball will be tipped. Two short, his spin move is predictable and he’s doesn’t want to run. The Seahawks gutted the Broncos. The 12’s want to thank you. Let Russ cook up some more Loses, we need a franchise quarterback and a defensive Tackle. A 100 million thanks . Go Hawks for the love of God, stop the run.

  28. First ballot HOF QB Russell Wilson hasn’t played badly considering the lack of tools at his disposal.

    Happy BDay Russ. You have 160,000,000 reasons to smile today.

  29. Broncos fans are a bit delusional about what they have around Russ. Sutton doesn’t look like the same explosive athlete he was before the injury. Russ has a rookie TE and no running game. It’s definitely somewhat on Russ but at 34 he should have a better team around him.

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