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Buy or sell: reports of Russell Wilson’s progress through camp have the QB set for redemption

The Denver Broncos honeymoon for Russell Wilson ended long ago, but given the positive reports from training camp, is the QB awarded the benefit of the doubt?

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely in professional sports history has there been such hype surrounding a franchise player switching teams only for that player face plant in his first season than Russell Wilson with the Denver Broncos.

The Super Bowl-winning, multi-Pro Bowl QB was an elite signal caller for the Seattle Seahawks, but in his first year with his new team, he posted career lows across the board while his offense was a laughingstock on their way to a groan-worthy 5-12 record.

Since then, former incompetent head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who turned out to be as qualified to run an NFL team as a teenager playing Madden for the first time, is gone, and in his place is a Super Bowl-winning, top-tier coach in Sean Payton. Given Payton’s history with offense’s and turning teams around, he seemed like the perfect fit to get Wilson back to form.

Has he achieved that, though?

Through the early parts of training camp this summer, the reports on Wilson were not terrible but not exactly confidence inspiring, either. He was reportedly getting picked off and batted down quite a bit and missing guys in the open field.

Yet, as camp progressed, the positive reports started to outweigh the negative, and as camp ends this week, Wilson may have found his stride.

As camp progressed, reports about interceptions and missed cues began to diminish while reports of fewer and fewer balls from Wilson ever hitting the ground began to increase. It’s camp, and not the real thing, so take things with a grain of salt as always, but if these reports are to be believed, is Wilson set to embark on somewhat of a revenge tour this season?

That of course depends on if one buys in or not.

In his first preseason game last week vs the Arizona Cardinals, Wilson looked okay at first glance but nothing overly impressive. He had some very nice balls but missed on a couple as well. Looking back at the game, though, it became apparent it was less Wilson and more so his offensive line’s complete inability to protect him. Not even the greatest QBs to have played can embark on a rebound year if the front line in front of him gets blown up.

Again, it is just camp/preseason, though, it’s a new system, and the Broncos aren’t the only ones who had issues in their first game (God bless you, Bryce Young). For the sake of argument, consider the line’s bumbling first appearance a one-off and something of a unit getting used to a new system in front of another team for the first time.

Can the reports about Wilson’s progression be considered genuine or just media bait as a way to generate interest?

His coach, Sean Payton, certainly seems to be buying in. He risked a PR blunder when he talked with USA Today and blasted the former staff as a way to say Wilson wasn’t given the proper support system. He also talked with reporter Kay Adams about Wilson’s progress, calling his new QB “fantastic” while crediting his lead-by-example work style as well as his improvisation and escape ability, something Payton credited to Wilson’s offseason 15-pound weight loss (send me the details for a friend, please).

The world will get another chance to see Wilson this Saturday as he and the Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers. Just how far the offense and Wilson have progressed since preseason week one, especially against a much more stout defensive front, will be interested.

It’s important to note that Payton isn’t a guy who typically BS’s. See USA Today piece for reference. He’ll call it like he sees it. And he appears firmly in the corner of his quarterback, going out of his way to offer complimentary words.

That of course does not necessarily mean for Broncos Country to start buying Wilson #3 jerseys off the shelf, but it should at least give fans something to have a little hope for in the coming weeks.


Do the camp reports about Russell Wilson’s progression make you believe he is set for a significant rebound season?

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