When it was announced all the way back in March that the Seattle Seahawks would be trading QB Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a pair of first-round picks among other capital, the Broncos QB limbo post-Peyton Manning appeared to finally be over.
Wilson and the Seahawks, as Hollywood phonies like to call it, had come to irreconcilable differences and were mutual in their parting of ways. Wilson wanted more freedom to air things out, Pete Carroll liked his approach better, and the two parties decided it was best to go their separate ways.
So, therefore, as Seattle fans coined, Denver was Wilson’s ultimate chance to execute the “Let Russ Cook” movement, referring to the willingness to let the future Hall-of-Fame QB use his arm in a more open fashion.
Three games into the 2022 season with his new team, however, Russ has yet to fire up the grill as expected. At this point, it seems as if it’s more of the quality of the grill than the chef, as while Russ has occasionally figured out how to spark the flames to get the meat going, they tend to go out right as he's about to drop the steaks.
In the three regular season games thus far, against one quality opponent and two teams already doing their top-5 draft pick homework, Wilson has thrown for 743 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception while completing just shy of 60% of his passes. That means he is averaging less than 250 yards per game and barely a touchdown.
Those aren’t numbers that would cause a panic necessarily, but they’re also not the numbers of a $235 million QB.
Yet, it’s still early, and given the fact he didn’t have the opportunity to rehearse with his new teammates in a game-like situation in the preseason, it’s pretty apparent the rust is still there. So while #3 has been missing some open receivers and occasionally looking confused, remember that he’s in a new offense with new personnel.
Peyton Manning himself struggled in his early tenure with the orange and blue.
In Peyton Manning's first season with the Broncos he did not look like himself until...Week 4 when Denver played...THE RAIDERS.— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) September 28, 2022
338 Yards 3 TD's in a 37-6 win
The sheriff was 1-2 in his first two starts as a Bronco, and while it can be said without bias that he was a better QB than Wilson currently is, the man still struggled.
So while Russ has been less of a Gordon Ramsey and more of a Homer Simpson in the kitchen (I’m still new here, so FYI, Simpsons’ references will be aplenty, get used to it) thus far, it’s more about what he’s had to work with than the talent of the cook himself.
God knows the dude knows how to cook. Of all fan bases, Denver should know more than any other. And luckily for everyone on the same side wanting to see the Broncos’ offense bust out, the matchup Sunday afternoon offers up a prime chance to deliver some long overdue sizzle.
The Las Vegas Raiders are a team that actually fields some significant talent.
Derek Carr is consistent, Davante Adams is elite, Josh Jacobs is a legit every down back, Rock Ya-Sin is as solid in coverage as he is in holding a future music career without changing his name, and Chandler Jones is an established pass rusher.
Yet...the Raiders are winless. Hapless. It’s like they have Josh McDaniels in charge or something. So something isn’t right.
For starters, despite all their talent, they are allowing nearly 270 yards passing per game, good enough for the 26th ranked passing defense in the league thus far. For reference, the Broncos first two opponents, Seattle and Houston, are ranked 19th and 11th. San Francisco is numero uno.
The Raiders as a team have just 2 sacks thus far in the season, both by Maxx Crosby, although the secondary does have 13 deflected passes this year. Yet, the secondary is banged up, so if they are not at full health come Sunday, the chance to cook is ripe for the taking.
At some point, the real Broncos offense has to show up. If it doesn’t in this week’s matchup or soon after, it will be known that the real Broncos’ offense is the same thing the front office spent money and picks to avoid.
Therefore, this is the week that Wilson needs to hit his receivers in stride. It’s the week Jerry Jeudy catches passes thrown his way. Courtland Sutton, despite having an amazing start, also needs to reel in the easy ones, too. It’s time to get the tight ends involved, and it’s time for the running game to be a useful change-of-pace rather than the only element of the offense.
In short, this is the game where Russ should be able to fire up the grill with not many issues. The Raiders’ defense is the perfect platform for some prime Filet Mignon. If 60 minutes go by and the results are a charred mess of what was supposed to be a piece of meat, those who have even been most patient will start to groan.
Therefore, it’s imperative for Nathaniel Hackett, Russell Wilson, and the rest of the Broncos’ offense enter Last Vegas with a complete recipe so in tact that Brett Rypien would be able to throw on the chef’s hat on stir it up.
The defense and future Ring-of-Honor member Corliss Waitman can only do so much. It’s time for the offense to start pulling their weight in the kitchen.