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Certainty at QB a refreshing change of pace for Broncos

Russell Wilson has already changed so much.

Denver Broncos Introduce Quarterback Russell Wilson Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

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!

Horse Tracks

GM George Paton sees ‘strong draft in the middle rounds,’ doesn’t rule out trading up
"We do have the ammo to still trade up," Paton said after dealing picks for Russell Wilson. "It doesn’t really change our process for the draft.”

‘With a guy like Russell, we can do a lot’: How Wilson’s performance as an opponent helped convince the Broncos to trade for him
"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.”

Broncos offensive line has new faces, schemes |
Dalton Risner and Quinn Meinerz may well wind up with the starting guard spots that were theirs at last season’s end.

Russell Wilson will have input on Denver Broncos offense |
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett told Mike Klis that quarterback Russell Wilson will have a significant say in how the offense runs.

Nathaniel Hackett: Offense will be what Russell Wilson likes to do - ProFootballTalk

Annual Meeting Notebook: Broncos to start voluntary offseason program on April 11
Plus, hear from GM George Paton and HC Nathaniel Hackett on the AFC West, the latest defensive additions, the offensive line competition, the backup quarterback spot and more.

Peyton Manning says he wants Tom Brady to return his retirement gifts, including a letter and bottle of wine -
The greatest quarterback rivalry in NFL history is writing a new -- and comical -- chapter

Packers coach Matt LaFleur: Trading WR Davante Adams 'tough for me personally'
Speaking with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday, the Packers head coach opened up about the team trading star wideout Davante Adams to the Raiders.

Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel: 'There’s no real ceiling' on ways to involve Tyreek Hill
New Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel couldn't believe Tyreek Hill was available. Now that Hill's on his team, McDaniel is exploring all the ways the Pro Bowl WR could be utilized.

Mike Tomlin, convinced that 'you can use a Brian Flores on your staff,' enthused to add Pittsburgh Steelers' new assistant coach
Mike Tomlin, saying he's thrilled "to have an opportunity to impact the game in a positive way, to impact society in a positive way," addressed the Pittsburgh Steelers' hire of Brian Flores on Sunday from the NFL's annual league meetings in Florida.

New York Giants co-owner John Mara says he's 'not settling' Brian Flores' lawsuit, calls allegations of 'sham' interview 'false'
Giants co-owner John Mara said Sunday at the NFL's annual meetings that he's "not settling" the lawsuit brought against the team by Brian Flores.

Frank Reich: 'Unfair' to make Carson Wentz 'the scapegoat' for Colts' disappointing season
Colts head coach Frank Reich isn't pointing the finger at Carson Wentz for the Colts' woes in 2021 despite trading the QB away this offseason.

Ronald Jones makes it clear why he chose Chiefs in free agency: 'Everybody's going to eat' -
Jones left the Buccaneers to sign with the Chiefs

Bruce Arians says Bucs 'would've turned over every stone' to replace Tom Brady if he had stayed retired -
Arians and the Buccaneers had been in the midst of an in-depth plan to replace the GOAT

Peter King's Football Morning In America - OT Rule Proposal + Tyreek Hill Trade - NBC Sports
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.

Two new plaintiffs will join the Brian Flores lawsuit on April 8 - ProFootballTalk

Giants' words and action continue to conflict on Daniel Jones - ProFootballTalk

Frank Reich: Matt Ryan, Colts needed each other - ProFootballTalk

Titans committed to keeping A.J. Brown long term - ProFootballTalk

Man convicted in shooting that wounded Corey Ballentine - ProFootballTalk