janvier 28, 2023

Russell Wilson: Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett dismisses talk of a rift between QB and team-mates as ‘all gossip’ | NFL News

4 min read

The Denver Broncos have lost seven of their last eight games and have statistically the league’s worst offense in 2022, averaging just 14.3 points per game; Russell Wilson: « I’ve got great relationships in that locker room. So, whoever is trying to tear it down, you can’t »

Last Updated: 01/12/22 5:22pm

Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos have lost their last three straight and seven of their last eight games

Denver Broncos head coach Nathanial Hackett his dismissed rumours of a rift between quarterback Russell Wilson and his team-mates as « all gossip ».

The Broncos (3-8) have lost seven of their last eight games in a desperately disappointing season – and off the back of great optimism in the offseason following the team’s trade for Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks.

The nine-time Pro Bowler signed a new five-year, $245 million contract extension with the Broncos before the season’s start, but he has led the league’s worst offense in 2022, one averaging a paltry 14.3 points per game. In 10 starts, Wilson has thrown for 2,369 yards, with only eight touchdowns (on pace for a career-low season mark).

The frustration over the team’s failings appeared to boil over during their latest 23-10 defeat to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, with a brief sideline blow-up between defensive tackle Mike Purcell and Wilson being caught on camera.

Highlights of the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers from Week 12 of the NFL season.

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Highlights of the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers from Week 12 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers from Week 12 of the NFL season.

Purcell dismissed the exchange as nothing more than « frustration, » with Wilson adding that « there’s no animosity there at all. »

But with the team’s continued struggles – Sunday’s loss being the ninth time this season they’ve scored 16 or fewer points and the fourth instance of 10 or fewer – there continues to be speculation of a growing rift in the locker room due to their misfiring offense.

Hackett disputed such claims, telling reporters: « To me, it’s all gossip.

« We have a fantastic locker room. Look at a guy like Russ; I’ve never seen anybody work so hard, never seen anybody try to embrace a team like he has.

« Russ is awesome, and we need just to do better as a team and all that stuff is what it is. I love Russ. »

Super Bowl winners Torry Holt and Will Blackmon discuss Russell Wilson's struggles with the Denver Broncos since joining in a big-money deal.

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Super Bowl winners Torry Holt and Will Blackmon discuss Russell Wilson’s struggles with the Denver Broncos since joining in a big-money deal.

Super Bowl winners Torry Holt and Will Blackmon discuss Russell Wilson’s struggles with the Denver Broncos since joining in a big-money deal.

Hackett added: « When you sign up for this profession – quarterback, certain coaches, certain players – if you lose, you’re going to get criticism.

« The idea is you’ve got to keep your head down, keep working. »

Wilson: My confidence never wavers

Offensive guard Dalton Risner was another to launch a spirited defence of his quarterback, dismissing the reports of a locker room rift as « just hilarious in my opinion ».

« I know it’s not true, » he added. « I know that I know who Russell is. I respect him so much. I respect the way he integrates within our locker room.

« And I feel all year he hasn’t been able to catch a break. I feel like all year people are just making up rumours about him, whether that be he’s not a good team-mate or he’s lost the locker room, apparently, or whatever the heck it is.

« A lot of it is just so outlandish to me because I get to see him work every day. I get to see how much he cares about the guys in the locker room and the devotion he has to this game. »

Watch Russell Wilson's first touchdown pass as a Denver Broncos, as he finds Jerry Jeudy for the score in Week One against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.

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Watch Russell Wilson’s first touchdown pass as a Denver Broncos, as he finds Jerry Jeudy for the score in Week One against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.

Watch Russell Wilson’s first touchdown pass as a Denver Broncos, as he finds Jerry Jeudy for the score in Week One against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.

When Wilson was personally asked if he felt like any team-mates had an issue with him, the 34-year-old said: « No. I think that, first of all, everybody wants to win.

« I’ve got great relationships in that locker room. So, whoever is trying to tear it down, you can’t.

« The best thing about it is it’s been an amazing journey coming here, moving year, being here. It’s a blessing to be on this team and I’m honoured to be a part of this. »

Wilson added: « My confidence never wavers. 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. »

The Broncos will try to snap a three-game losing streak when they go on the road to the Baltimore Ravens (7-4) this Sunday.

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