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Russell Wilson wishes he played better for Nathaniel Hackett: ‘One of the brighter minds I’ve been around’

The Denver Broncos revamped just about everything in the offseason … for naught.

They were 7-10 and last in the AFC West in 2021, but they still had one of the game’s most talented rosters that was being held back by poor quarterback play and questionable coaching.

With new ownership came a new quarterback in nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Starting with his first game, Hackett was heavily scrutinized. He burned clock to attempt a 64-yard field goal instead going for a 4th and 5 in Seattle Week 1, which was just a preview for the rest of the season.

Hackett didn’t even complete this season. The 4-11 Broncos fired him Monday with two games remaining.

Despite his struggles, Wilson had nothing but praise for his former head coach, the second he’s played for in the NFL after Pete Carroll.

“I think he’s an amazing man, amazing teacher, amazing father just watching him with his kids, and what he’s been able to do and how he’s taught the game for us,” Wilson told reporters Wednesday

“This season has been a season we never thought was gonna happen the way it did, and he was a guy that spent all of his time, all of his effort into us as players, staff members, everybody, coaches as well. I think he’s gonna be an amazing coach, one of the brighter minds I’ve been around … He’s resilient, he’s a tremendous coach, love him to death, and everybody misses him, for sure.”

Head coach Nathaniel Hackett of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field Sept. 12, 2022, in Seattle.

Hackett’s decisions were questioned on a weekly basis, but it’s hard to imagine he was solely responsible for the turn Wilson took this season.

Wilson’s 60.1 completion percentage is the worst of his career, and barring something crazy over the final two games, he will not have thrown 20 touchdowns for the first time in his career. He has just 12 in 13 games this season.


“It’s been a crazy season — tons of injuries, tons of everything else. But the reality is I wish I could have played better for him, too. Wish I could have played at the standard level that I’ve always played at,” he said.

Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High Aug. 27, 2022, in Denver, Colo. 

It’s now seven straight seasons without a playoff appearance for the Broncos, whose last showing resulted in a 2016 Super Bowl title in Peyton Manning’s final NFL game.

And the Broncos don’t have a first-round pick this year, currently the third overall pick. They traded it to acquire Wilson.

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