Although Russell Wilson was one of the most talked about quarterbacks in the NFL (and sports figures in general) last year for all of the wrong reasons, the Denver Broncos starting quarterback has turned the proverbial corner in 2023 under head coach Sean Payton. Russell Wilson was hurt for a lot of the 2022 season and was kicked while he was down by fans and media alike. Many still believed Russ could turn things around in 2023, but there was a time when that hope was hanging by a thread.
After being labeled arguably the worst trade in NFL history, the Russell Wilson deal has finally started to pay major dividends for the Denver Broncos as Wilson has been clutch amidst the team's five-game winning streak. More than just clutch, Wilson has been efficient all season, a topic that has been highly debated by people who swear Sean Payton is pulling the strings on Russ like a puppet.
Regardless of what the talking heads are saying right now, the fact of the matter is, Russell Wilson is playing some good football. As a matter of fact, he's playing better football than most quarterbacks in the NFL. People can call it boring all they want -- Wilson has been making plays with his legs, off-schedule, he's reading things pre-snap, he's making insanely low-percentage throws, and the Broncos are in the playoff mix.
Would it be nice to see another version of the 2013 offense which set the NFL record for points scored in a season? Absolutely, but this different brand of football -- as long as it's winning football -- shouldn't be scoffed at.
The Denver Broncos sent out some statistics before the team's game against the Houston Texans highlighting some individual and team performances so far this season, and Russell Wilson was a featured player in this week's release. The primary featured statistic was Wilson's touchdown-to-interception ratio, which is the best in the entire NFL through 12 weeks of the season.
- Russell Wilson: 20 TD, 4 INT
- Dak Prescott: 26 TD, 6 INT
- CJ Stroud: 19 TD, 5 INT
- Kirk Cousins: 18 TD, 5 INT
- Justin Herbert: 20 TD, 6 INT
Russell Wilson is the only quarterback in the NFL with a 5-to-1 touchdown/interception ratio right now, and it's the best mark currently in the NFL. That, in and of itself, is a remarkable achievement through this point of the NFL season, but what's even more impressive is just how bad Wilson's TD/INT ratio was a season ago...
In 2022, Wilson had a touchdown/interception ratio of 16 TDs and 11 INTs.
That's a 1.45/1 touchdown/interception ratio. Not only is that not good, it's downright terrible.
The 2022 season was forgettable on a variety of fronts, but that particular statistic is even more embarrassing when you consider that Wilson threw eight of his 16 touchdowns in the final four games he played last year.
Under head coach Sean Payton, Russ has been playing with more confidence, even if we see him operating more conservatively. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The ball hasn't been going into harm's way very often, and Wilson has been cashing in on opportunities when the Broncos get into the red zone.
The offense as a whole needs to be better for the Broncos to make the playoffs. Russell Wilson, specifically, has to continue to evolve in this offense if the Broncos are going to make the playoffs this year. But the way he has played this season, you can tell from that one statistic just how stark of a difference there is in Russell Wilson's play under Sean Payton compared to Nathaniel Hackett.