It’s just one game, a lot went well, and the Denver Broncos can of course learn from their Week 1 mistakes, but the days following the cringeworthy loss to the Seattle Seahawks, things haven’t been much easier.
Despite other teams soiling themselves in their openers (looking at you, Rams, Bengals, and Packers), it seems special attention has been paid this week to first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett and his decision to try for a ridiculously long field goal attempt rather than to trust in his $245 million QB to get 5 yards.
While Hackett admitted his mistake and should (hopefully) learn from it, seeing images of just how close the Broncos were to turning this from a 1-point loss to potentially a 3-score win have been tough to stomach.
Former NFL QB and back-of-the-endzone dweller Dan Orlovsky’s analysis isn’t easy to hear, either.
Most of the blame has been directed at Hackett, who, to his credit, is owning it, but former Seahawks DB and teammate of Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, had thoughts on his former QB.
Truthfully, while Wilson finished with an impressive stat line, many fans may have been asking the same question following the field goal debacle:
“Why didn’t Russ demand the ball?”
Sherman pointed to the now widely known snippet of Peyton Manning on ESPN2’s ManningCast nearly putting a whole through his left hand trying to call time out from his couch and said the reason, per Sherman, that Wilson stayed put was because he doesn’t possess the kind of power Manning did.
“Russell Wilson does not have the power to call that timeout without the sideline,” he said. “Peyton Manning can call that timeout without the sideline. He’s the coach on the field. He has that respect.”
The former Legion of Boom member seemed to be trying to sell the narrative that the moment can’t fall on Wilson due to his perceived lack of input, but make no mistake, that is a shot at Wilson...right to the heart.
Truthfully, while Sherman has a point, it’s important to remember that this is a QB and coach still getting to know one another. It could be detrimental to chemistry if in Hackett’s first game as head coach if Wilson overruled him. Wilson wants to establish trust, and emasculating your first-year head coach on Monday Night Football would have been tough to maintain that.
It goes a step further when kicker Brandon McManus told both Wilson and Hackett he could make it from that range.
To tell both your new coach and new teammate (and elite kicker) to stand down in your first game is probably not the easiest thing to do.
Having said that, though, it’s probably safe to say the majority of America would have put their trust in Wilson to get 5 yards than to attempt a field goal that would have tied the second longest in NFL history.
Hackett has admitted fault in the matter and will hopefully adjust in the future. In the coming weeks, as game chemistry continues to grow, hopefully QB and coach can trust/respect each other enough in tough situations to talk things out before acting.