The Denver Broncos are 0-3 and coming off of one of the most lopsided, embarrassing losses in NFL history. Though the team chose not to make any immediate changes following that loss, it seems clear that some changes are on the horizon.
The Broncos are absolutely awful this season and in particular, almost shockingly, they have suddenly gotten better on offense and are just pathetic on defense. This has prompted Broncos Country to call for the job of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, though that's not going to happen, at least not yet.
So the Broncos will trudge forward, into a Week 4 matchup with an equally awful Chicago Bears team in a game that could have plenty of implications for the 2024 NFL Draft involved in it. It is unbelievable to be saying that in September.
The Broncos brought in Sean Payton to coach this team, trading draft picks to do so, and many fans assumed he had the pedigree to just turn things around immediately. That is part of why the team's winless start has been so surprising. But for as bad as the Broncos have been, you can scour social media to find many members of Broncos Country standing up in defense of quarterback Russell Wilson.
"It's not Russell Wilson's fault that the Broncos got 70 points dropped on them by the Dolphins".
"Russell Wilson has been a lot better than he was last year and that should count for something".
Those are two statements I read and both of those statements are true. Wilson is far from being at fault for the team being 3-0 and yes, he absolutely has been better.
In three games, Wilson has completed 65 percent of his throws for 791 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Beyond that, he seems to see the field better than he was last season and seems more elusive, even if he's lost a step.
But here is why none of that matters.
Sean Payton and Russell Wilson are not a match made in Heaven. They just aren't. It's like one of those shotgun weddings in Vegas, the ones that get thrown together quickly and it's like "sure, let's do this".
We all know how that usually ends.
As reports circulate that the two get along "really well", it seems painfully obvious that Wilson is just not the guy that Payton wants running his show. As Wilson ages, that is not likely to change.
The Broncos are headed for a terrible record to finish the 2023 season, setting them up for what should be a top-5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. You can talk about all of the positional needs this team has on defense, but that pick, just like in 2018 and again in 2021, absolutely needs to be used on a quarterback.
The team is going to take a salary-cap hit moving on from Wilson, but it was a bad trade, it's always been a bad trade and the sooner the organization admits that and takes the hit, the sooner the team can move forward. Even if for some reason Wilson is still the quarterback in 2024, that pick still needs to be used on a quarterback.
Eventually, this franchise needs to find that guy. By drafting him, not trying to get the last tread on the tires of guys like Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Flacco as it has done in year's past. Those moves were indicative of a team not willing to admit that it is completely rebuilding. And instead of already being on the rebuilding path, there is still some denial in positions of power.
Colin Cowherd explains the situation perfectly right here:
Now, nothing he says there suggests that Wilson is at fault for the Broncos' woes. But what it does suggest is that the team has inner turmoil and that stands to reason that Payton and Wilson are not in this together for the long haul. If one has to go, it will certainly be Wilson.
The Broncos need to hit the reset button and allow Payton to build this team from the ground up, the way he sees it. That will not include Wilson as the quarterback.