Last year’s offense, led by OC Pat Shurmur and QB Teddy Bridgewater, was stale at times and never managed to hit big plays consistently enough to keep the team in games. Whether it was a combination of poor route concepts downfield, the offensive line failing to hold up for long enough, or Teddy Bridgewater not having/trusting the arm to deliver downfield, oftentimes a 3rd and long was a death knell for the Denver Broncos offense in 2021.
Enter Russell Wilson, one of the most prolific deep-ball throwers of the past decade. Just a few days ago, Next Gen Stats’ dropped their top 10 deep ball throwers in the NFL of 2021. Wilson placed 8th, behind some notable names like Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Matthew Stafford, but ahead of Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers, who finished 9th and 10th respectively.
NGS found that Wilson posted an 8:1 TD-to-INT ratio and 115.3 passer rating on deep passes thrown from inside the tackle box. Wilson’s touchdown total was the second-highest in the league, as was the passer rating. On the run, NGS found that Russ completed 41.7 percent of deep passes for 403 yards and a +14.1 CPOE on extended dropbacks of four-plus seconds.
It should be a productive year for whoever lines up in the slot, whether it’s Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton. Russell Wilson completed 60 percent of deep passes to slot targets, tying for the second-most touchdowns and second-highest passer rating on such attempts, while also finishing third in yards, CPOE, and passing EPA.
While his down-to-down process isn’t perfect and certainly worth criticizing, the ability for Wilson to keep defenses honest deep and with his legs has been something Denver has been lacking for a very long time. With the personnel they currently have and Coach Hackett calling the shots, it ought to be an entertaining aerial attack all season long.
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