The start of a new season always brings excitement and intrigue.
But the 2022 NFL season opener for the Denver Broncos is so much more than that. It’s the start of a new era in Broncos Country.
New head coach.
Fittingly, the schedule makers decided to add even more gasoline to the proverbial Wilson fire by having him open with his new team against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
With that comes the return of “Five Questions.” Giving us the Seahawks’ point of view is John P. Gilbert from Field Gulls.
Pete Carroll on how fans should react to Russell Wilson. pic.twitter.com/jZQl8P32wf— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 8, 2022
MHR: What will be the 12s reaction to Russell Wilson?
Gilbert: There will certainly be a lot of cheers, as a lot of fans are thankful to Russ for everything he did for the team and the city during his time here. However, I will not be surprised at all if the cheers don’t come out until later in the evening, as I expect there to be a very loud chorus of boos from fans who feel he forced his way out and betrayed the team.
MHR: How does the fanbase feel about Geno Smith being named the starter? And was it the right move?
Gilbert: Starting with the second question first, there’s no doubt it was the right move. As Broncos fans can attest after having watched Drew Lock play over the past three seasons, Lock is certainly not the answer. There were a lot of fans who wanted Lock to be the answer, and who hoped that he could come in and surprise the naysayers. To that end there were a lot of apologists offering excuses for Lock’s performance during his time in Denver, including constant churn among the coaching staff, abbreviated offseasons as a rookie and again in his second season due to COVID and so on. However, at the end of the day, tossing three interceptions against a defense that sat its starters in the preseason finale basically shows that while there might be some potential, that potential has yet to be unlocked.
As for how fans feel about Geno, most fans saw enough of him during his three plus games in relief of Wilson in 2021 to be certain that he’s not the answer, so between that and the optimism for Lock’s potential, it’s certainly been a hot topic of discussion.
MHR: What is Seattle’s defensive game plan for Wilson and the Broncos offense?
Gilbert: I’m as interested to learn this as Broncos fans, as it will be the first time we as Seahawks fans get to see the new defensive scheme truly deployed because the preseason is so vanilla it doesn’t count. That said, my guess is there will be a lot of late rotations to disguise coverages, a lot of multiple deep safety looks to take away the big play and challenge Wilson to work his way down the field in chunks and a lot of disguised and delayed blitzes to try and catch him off guard and force a turnover.
MHR: What do the Seahawks have to do to get the win?
Gilbert: As with any underdog looking for the upset, it will start with protecting the ball and avoiding turnovers, while forcing the opponent into making mistakes.
There is zero doubt that emotions will be high, so the stadium will likely be loud, and if that can combine with first game growing pains to keep the Broncos offense out of sync most of the night, then the Hawks will have a chance to come away victorious. On the flip side, if Russ gets rolling early and finds weak links he can exploit in a secondary that could have some less experienced guys on the field at times, it could get ugly fast.
MHR: Who wins and why?
Gilbert: It’s a quarterback-driven, passing league, and the reason Wilson started over Geno Smith for the past three seasons is because Wilson is a better quarterback. I expect the Seahawks to keep it close early, but with the Broncos pulling away in the second half.
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