Around The NFL Writer
At 3-8, the 2022 Denver Broncos have been nothing short of a massive disappointment.
Denver’s offseason acquisition of Russell Wilson has fallen flat, and rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett has attracted plenty of criticism. Denver’s performance has warranted the backlash, but it appears as if most internal discord isn’t centered on Hackett — it’s on Wilson.
Wilson has lost the confidence and support of some of the Broncos locker room, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday. Pelissero’s report follows a jarring scene near Denver’s sideline Sunday in which defensive tackle Mike Purcell was seen shouting at Wilson out of apparent frustration during the Broncos’ 23-10 loss to the Panthers.
After the game, the defensive tackle explained the cause was precisely that. Wilson told reporters the two don’t harbor any animosity toward each other, but days later, the quarterback was forced to answer questions regarding his standing in the eyes of his still-new teammates.
“First of all, everybody wants to win,” Wilson said Wednesday. “We all want to win. Nobody wants to win more than me and this team.
“I mean, I got great relationships in that locker room. So whoever was trying to tear it down, you can’t. I think that the best thing about it is that it’s been an amazing journey coming here, moving here, being here.”
Wilson is well-coached when it comes to speaking publicly. His positive response is no surprise, but at 3-8 and in the midst of his worst season of his career, it would be understandable if Wilson’s always-sunny persona started to show some cracks.
So far, it hasn’t.
“My confidence never wavers. It doesn’t waver,” Wilson said. “I know how much work I put into it. I know who I am. I know what I’ve done. I know this team, too, and how much we’re working, so confidence doesn’t waver.”
Hackett downplayed Pelissero’s report when asked about it Wednesday, telling media members, “it’s all gossip.”
“We have a fantastic locker room,” Hackett said. “I’ve never seen somebody work that hard and try to embrace a team like he has.”
Wilson may have made substantial efforts to embrace his teammates, but his struggles have appeared to have made it difficult for them to reciprocate. Denver was supposed to be a new heavyweight in the AFC, a squad stocked with playmakers on both sides of the ball capable of mounting a serious Super Bowl run.
Instead, only one half of that equation — Denver’s third-ranked defense — has shown up. With just three wins through 11 games, it appears the other half might never arrive, calling into question both Denver’s decision to acquire Wilson and where the franchise, which anchored itself to Wilson with a lucrative extension, is headed.
Folks are also understandably wondering whether Wilson’s best days are behind him.
“I don’t even need to respond to that,” Wilson, 34, said. “I think that at the end of the day, I know who I am as a player. I think that also, too, I feel better than ever. I’ve been getting better mentally and physically every day. I’ve obviously had some tough stuff this year with the shoulder and everything else, but you battle through it. You play through it.
“You play ball, and we got a long ways to go. I’m excited about what’s ahead with this football team and what we’re going to do.”
Time’s running out on these Broncos, at least for 2022. It might also be the fourth quarter for Hackett in only his first season as a head coach. If a change must be made, it won’t be at quarterback; the finances simply won’t allow it.
For now, the Broncos can only do one thing: present a united front, wear a smile and keep pushing forward. Denver is likely hoping another teammate of Wilson’s doesn’t go after him in front of network television cameras again in the weeks ahead.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shared why he believes the team can turn it around with six games left in the season.
Packers OT David Bakhtiari underwent an emergency appendectomy and will miss the Packers’ Week 13 game against Chicago, the team announced.
Justin Fields is on track to return to the field this weekend. The Bears quarterback did not appear on Chicago’s Friday injury report, essentially clearing the way for him to start Sunday versus NFC North rival Green Bay.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford cleared concussion protocol but still won’t play Sunday against the Seahawks. Coach Sean McVay said Friday that Stafford is out for Week 13 due to a neck injury.
The Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes has hit the visits portion of its elongated journey. The star receiver, who continues to recover from an ACL injury, met with Giants brass Thursday.
NFL.com keeps you up to date with all of the latest league news from around the NFL. Visit NFL.com’s transaction hub for a daily breakdown.
Green Bay rookie receiver Christian Watson is on a torrid streak, generating six touchdowns and 265 receiving yards on 12 catches over the past three games. Watson believes he’s just scratching the surface of his potential.
The No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft square off Sunday when Travon Walker’s Jaguars face Aidan Hutchinson’s Lions. Hutchinson said Thursday he thought he would be playing in Jacksonville “for about three months, and then a week before the draft, something changed.”
The Bills defense put the clamps on the Patriots offense, holding New England to a measly 242 yards. Safety Jordan Poyer said the Bills knew they’d be in an excellent position to win if they stopped the run and forced Mac Jones to throw.
Thursday night’s Amazon Prime Video broadcast showed QB Mac Jones yelling on the sidelines during the Patriots’ 24-10 loss to the Bills. The assumption from the majority of viewers was that Jones directed his ire at play-caller Matt Patricia. But the quarterback said after the game it wasn’t directed at anyone specifically.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen bested the Patriots for a third time in a row, made history and threw one of the greatest 8-yard touchdown passes you’re ever going to see.
Quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills won in lopsided fashion over the Patriots on “Thursday Night Football” for their third straight win in the rivalry.
You won’t want to miss a moment of the 2022 season!
NFL+ gives you the freedom to watch LIVE out-of-market preseason games, LIVE local and primetime regular season and postseason games on your phone or tablet, the best NFL programming on-demand, and MORE!
© 2022 NFL Enterprises LLC. NFL and the NFL shield design are registered trademarks of the National Football League.The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. All other NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. NFL footage © NFL Productions LLC.
Russell Wilson, Nathaniel Hackett downplay rumblings of division in Broncos locker room – NFL.com
Around The NFL Writer