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Wilson doesn’t just improve the offense; he makes the defense better too

Former Broncos’ cornerback Ray Crockett spoke on KOA Colorado this week, noting that a defense benefits in a big way too when the team has a franchise QB.

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Former Broncos’ cornerback Ray Crockett made an obvious but not oft-talked about point about what Russell Wilson brings to the Broncos’ defense.

That’s right. The defense.

“When I’ve seen defenses that have a quarterback like that,” Crockett started, pointing to his time playing on a Broncos squad with John Elway at QB or against the Cowboys under Troy Aikman or Rams under Kurt Warner, the defense could play fast and loose.

Cue the 2015 Broncos please.

Because the common denominator, Crockett noted on Broncos Country Tonight, was a franchise QB who could dig the team out of an unplanned deficit.

“Defenses are more opportunistic when they know they’ve got their guy; they take more risks and become a ball-hawking team,” Crockett said. “Defenses say to themselves, ‘if we make a mistake here and there, we’ve got a guy who can make it up for us. If we get behind 7 points because we’re blitzing and trying to cause turnovers, we can make that up.’”

Crockett had no “analytics” to back that up, but he felt strongly a closer look at any Super Bowl-winning offense would turn up a top five/top 10 scoring defense to go with it.

“Those things go hand-in-hand when you’ve got a quarterback on the other side,” he added.

And since now every AFC West team “has a guy” at quarterback, along with top defenders, he believes it’s no joke to call it the best division in football next season.

“When all four teams have a guy, you’re going to see all four defenses end up being better than they were in the past,” he said. “Each has a guy who can produce a game-winning drive. Not many divisions in the league ... if you gave the quarterback of each team a ball with two minutes to go in the game and you need a score, they could do it.” (*editor’s note: Crockett correctly put the Raiders and Derek Carr fourth out of four AFC West teams in his ranking!)

In fact, it’s the toughness of the division that made the Broncos’ trade for Wilson basically a requirement in order to compete.

“It was definitely a necessary move,” Crockett said, referencing previous failed attempts to build a team “the old-fashioned way” through the Draft. “The only thing that’s worked out so far has been Peyton Manning, a proven talent. Someone who has done it. That’s the same with Russ Wilson.”

But actually an advantage for Wilson, according to Crockett, is that the mobile quarterback will actually have more offensive weapons to work with than his previous Super Bowl-winning teams with the Seahawks.

“It’s all going to be on Hackett. No more excuses,” Crockett said, pointing out that Vic Fangio and Vance Joseph could both claim they did not have that guy. “But Hackett doesn’t have that excuse.”

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