With Russell Wilson, a new coach, and new ownership, the 2022 Denver Broncos were poised to make considerable noise in 2022. So, what the heck happened?
In retrospect, the press conference debuting Russell Wilson gave us a glimpse at just who was going to lead the Broncos in 2022. Remember Nathaniel Hackett so giddy with excitement, barely unable to contain himself at the joy that he’d been gifted a future hall of famer?
Needless to say, the Nathaniel Hackett hire will hang over the Broncos as the biggest coaching failure since Josh McDaniels. Sure, with Hackett there was no cheating, but the guy also handed away all of his coaching duties and still found a way to lose with historically low point totals. At least McDaniels had a brief taste of winning before crashing the Broncos headlong into the ravine of suckitude.
Then there were the injuries. If the Denver Broncos are going to be successful, the ACL and hamstring injuries need to return to acceptable levels. Contending for the league lead in players on injured reserve can no longer be tolerated. All hyperbole and hand-wringing aside from training staff apologists, it clear that changes need to be made to ensure the long-term health of the Broncos going forward.
So what about Russell Wilson?
Sunday’s game against the Chargers and last week’s game against the Chiefs showed that there is potential for success. Maybe it’s not time to spin that quarterback carousel again just yet. Wilson needs an advocate at head coach. He needs someone who will put him in position to succeed. We have seen the pocket passer he isn’t. The Wilson trade may yet pay dividends, but it’s imperative that whoever coaches the Broncos in 2023 understands his strengths and weaknesses going forward.
Throw dirt on the 2022 season. Turn the page. Move on. This is the seventh time since the Super Bowl season of 2015 that I have sat here early on a Monday morning trying to memorialize another season of wasted potential.
How the Broncos approach these next few months will dictate the story of the 2023 season. For years, the Denver Broncos lacked leadership. For the first time in a long time, there is an ownership group with a vested interest in creating a winning culture in Denver. We can only hope that translates into near-term success.
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An NFL defensive line coach for 32 consecutive seasons until scaling back to a defensive consultant this year, Bill Kollar is retiring from coaching.
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