Russell Wilson recently said that while the first 10 years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks were terrific, he’s hoping his next 10 years will be even better. And he’s hoping that decade (he actually wants to play another 12 years) is spent with the Denver Broncos.
Now, for his next NFL decade to surpass his first, Wilson certainly has his work cut out for him. In 10 years in Seattle, the third-round draft pick was a nine-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro selection, and a Super Bowl champion, slaughtering his new team to reach the top of the mountain.
He led the Seahawks to a second Super Bowl the following year but lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots after the infamous Marshawn Lynch debacle at the goal line late in the fourth quarter. So he could easily own two rings.
Again, Wilson has his work cut out for him.
But win or lose with the Broncos, Wilson will shoulder the burden far more than he ever did with the Seahawks, thanks to the Brady-like responsibility he now possesses under new Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett — a power he was never afforded under Pete Carroll.
Russell Wilson played for a defensive-minded head coach in Pete Carroll with the Seahawks
When Wilson arrived in Seattle after being taken with the 75th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Carroll had already been the head coach of the Seahawks for two seasons and had roughly 15 years of overall head coaching experience under his belt.
As Carroll has more of a defensive background, he essentially acquiesced offensive control to Darrell Bevell, the man responsible for scouting Wilson at Wisconsin, and later to Brian Schottenheimer and Shane Waldron.
But while Wilson fared just fine in these various schemes over the last decade, throwing for 37,059 yards and 292 touchdowns, he really had no control over the offensive design. But that’s no longer the case.
Wilson helped build the Broncos’ new playbook with first-year, offensive-minded head coach Nathaniel Hackett
Unlike Carroll, Nathaniel Hackett is an offensive-minded coach who’s spent the last 15-plus years in offensive positions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Syracuse Orange, Jacksonville Jaguars, and most recently as the offensive coordinator for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
And unlike what he had in Seattle, Russell Wilson has a big say in the Denver offense, much like Peyton Manning had during his heyday and a privilege Tom Brady has also enjoyed for much of his career.
Call it an equity stake in his team’s future, something Wilson has craved for years. For the last five months, Wilson and Hackett have constructed an all-new playbook mostly built around what Wilson wants, as Hackett recently explained.
“That’s been our primary focus: What does Russ wanna do? And now it’s kind of focused on what the guys around him can do. What can we pass off of? What can we run? What can we route run? But yeah, the whole thing in my world is 100% based off of him.
“Russell likes it, Russell wants it, we’re probably doing it.”Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Russell Wilson
Wilson is learning not only from Nathaniel Hackett but also from his head coach’s father, longtime NFL assistant Paul Hackett. The latter was Joe Montana’s quarterback coach when he won the second of four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. He was also the head coach at USC before being replaced by none other than Pete Carroll.
Wilson studies game film from the elder Hackett’s days in the NFL, which still applies to what the Broncos are doing today as the younger Hackett applies some of his old man’s philosophies to his own schemes. And Russ clearly loves his new responsibilities.
“It’s the creativity, but also the fundamentals of it. There’s a reason for everything—This is why they did it back then, this is why we’re gonna do it now. Here’s what it looks like. That journey’s been amazing.”Russell Wilson
Only time will tell if the Broncos’ new offense can once again turn Denver into a Super Bowl contender, and the first real test is just a few short weeks away. And you just gotta love the NFL schedule makers. Russell Wilson’s first regular-season game in a Broncos uniform is a Monday night matchup in Seattle against Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.