Well, so far both sides of The Trade haven’t looked too great to start the 2022 NFL season.
Yet only Russell Wilson carried any lofty expectations into this year, and his start has been so poor that fans of the Denver Broncos enthusiastically booed him in the win over the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Russell Wilson already getting boos in Denver pic.twitter.com/UwftAW0bJz— The Game Day NFL (@TheGameDayNFL) September 18, 2022
Yes, that’s correct, it’s Week 2 and Broncos fans are already booing the savior who arrived to return the team to the postseason for the first time since Peyton Manning hoisted a Lombardi at the end of the 2015 season. Or at least into third place in the AFC West behind the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs. At one point Sunday against the Texans, Russ was 6-of-20 with an interception.
Meanwhile the Seattle Seahawks are now 1-1, and the offense looked absolutely dreadful against the San Francisco 49ers. But who cares, right? They’re playing a ton of rookies, the defense looks interesting when Coby Bryant is not committing a penalty, and Geno Smith is not next year’s QB. A couple of those rookies who are seeing playing time include Charles Cross and Boye Mafe, who were added with the picks received from Denver in The Trade.
For Cross, he is the unquestioned starter at left tackle, and while there have been moments in each of the first two weeks where it is apparent he is a rookie, the reality is the Seahawks appear to have found their left tackle of the future. His game is not perfect, but as long as he continues to gain experience and improve, fans probably need not worry too much. As for Mafe, on an otherwise forgettable day for the defense, he was credited with four tackles, including one for a loss, and the only sack the defense recorded.
Obviously, there will also be another pair of youngsters the Seahawks add with the first and second round picks of the Broncos they hold in the 2023 NFL Draft, but as of Week 2, Pete Carroll and John Schneider are well on their way to looking like they made The Trade at the right time. Denver has put up just 16 points in each of its first two games, and all indications are that Wilson is not a world-beater, unaffected by the talent or scheme around him, held back by an outdated coach.
Of course, it’s entirely possible his new coach could be holding him back even more than his former coach allegedly was, in spite of the Broncos reportedly building the offense around Wilson’s skillset. The mismanagement of the two minute drill at the end of the game against the Seahawks in Week 1 is no secret and has been widely discussed for much of the past week. However, Nate Hackett may have outdone himself with his handling of an important third and fourth down sequence Sunday.
Please watch this entire sequence. Nate Hackett has officially lost it. Denver went from 3rd and inches, a TE rush attempt, a long FG attempt, and then a punt. Lord pic.twitter.com/3Eugrn7sHG— Billy M (@BillyM_91) September 18, 2022
One can only wonder where Hackett honed his game management skills, but he’s lucky he has Wilson around to bail him out. After the horrific start, Russ went 8-of-11 and tossed a fourth quarter touchdown to give Denver the lead and, eventually, the win. He finished 14-of-31 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
On the whole, his season numbers are actually quite inflated, if you can believe it. He’s thrown only two touchdowns this year. One of those was a 67-yard completion over aforementioned rookie Bryant, who really was playing catch-up in Week 1. His TD this week against the Texans was legit, but the 40 yards they gained earlier on that drive weren’t, as on a 3rd-and-16 Wilson hit Courtland Sutton for 33 yards on a complete blown coverage. Defenders weren’t even on screen.
He also took 3 sacks. Why haven’t the Broncos given him an offensive line?
Seattle takes on the winless Atlanta Falcons next week, while Wilson & Denver will see this San Francisco 49ers front seven. Perhaps a team will emerge 2-1.