This time last year, expectations for quarterback change had taken a hit.
On Friday, the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles rewrote the order of the 2021 NFL draft. When the dust settled, the Denver Broncos were still picking at #9, with prospects of moving up and drafting Drew Lock’s replacement looking dimmer than ever.
When I wrote that a year ago, the Teddy Bridgewater trade that preceded the 2021 draft had not yet happened. The draft day rollercoaster of a would-be and then would-not-be Aaron Rodgers trade had not yet happened. At this point last year, for better or worse, Drew Lock was was looking as though he was going to play a major role in the 2021 season.
Lock would play in 6-games, starting in 3 of them. He threw for 787-yards, 2-touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in what was quite possibly the most unimaginative and predictable offenses Broncos fans have ever suffered through. While fans still debate the potential Lock had, it can’t be lost that Pat Shurmur and Vic Fangio never did him, or any other of their quarterbacks, any favors.
...and now we turn the page. The squabbling over the nuance of average to below-average quarterback play, unfulfilled potential, and everything in between is now Seattle’s problem.
Russell Wilson has already embraced his role as signal caller both on and off the field. Visiting hospitals, hosting quarterback-led camps to build chemistry, and a positive forward-facing leadership role are all hallmarks of quarterback excellence that just feels right for Broncos fans. It was sorely missed.
What’s crazy is that the new league year just began and already the Denver Broncos are looking vastly different than the shambling mess of imposters that played last year. From the moment new Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett arrived, he has made no secret of his intention to reinvent the Denver Broncos offense as a high-scoring points machine. Broncos fans have heard this before, but with the addition of Russell Wilson, there is now a tight fist pounding the table, demanding all those points.
With Fangio and Vance Joseph, there was a lot of hollow talk about what Denver could be. With Russell Wilson, Broncos Country knows what they are. It’s the age-old identity of what it means to be a Broncos fan. We all had a glimpse of what football was like without a face-of-the-franchise quarterback and it wasn’t pretty. Those days are officially over. Broncos-brand football is back!
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"He just wins," GM George Paton said. "He can beat you in so many different ways — with his arms, with his feet. He’s a winner.”
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Peter King's Football Morning In America column leads with a look at the OT rule proposal, plus news on the Tyreek Hill trade and much more.