After spending the first 10 seasons of his career in Seattle, Russell Wilson is now in Denver, where one of his biggest challenges this offseason is going to be learning a new offense.
When you play quarterback in the NFL, switching teams is never easy and that's mostly because it can be difficult to learn a new offense (Some quarterbacks have compared it to trying to learn a new language). Even for Super Bowl winning quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, there seemed to be an adjustment period when they signed with their new teams.
In his first year with the Broncos, Manning's team started 2-3 before finishing the season by reeling off 11 straight wins to end the 2012 season. A similar thing happened to Brady, who watched his Buccaneers start 7-5, before they were able to win eight straight games, including the Super Bowl.
Although it's possible that Wilson could get off to a slow start, Manning says the new Broncos quarterback actually has an advantage that he didn't have in 2012 and that's the fact that the Broncos have a new coaching staff.
"I think he's off to a fast start in talking to him," Manning said this week, via the Broncos' official website. "I do think it's an advantage for Russell to be coming in with a new coaching staff, because everybody's learning and Russell is going to know this offense better than anybody. So he's going to be in teaching mode, as well. If you're a new player and you're catching up to everybody else in a leadership position, that can be difficult. So I think Russell's at a real advantage where they're learning coach [Nathaniel] Hackett's offense together, figuring out what works and what doesn't work and I think he's going to be great obviously for our young receivers. Like all Broncos fans, [I'm] excited to see him get to work this fall."
Hackett spent the past three seasons as Packers' offensive coordinator in Green Bay before being hired as Denver's head coach this offseason, which means every player on the offense will be learning the playbook right along with Wilson.
One other thing Manning likes about Wilson's first offseason with the Broncos is the fact that he rounded up a group of his new teammates so they could hold a throwing session at Wilson's house in San Diego. Manning did something similar during his time in Denver, except his throwing session was held in North Carolina.
"I would imagine San Diego is a little more exciting than Durham in April, although we did throw in some Duke-North Carolina basketball games during the day, so that was neat," Manning said. "Wherever you go, I like the off-campus throwing. There's something about the [fact that] Russell can lead it, it's just him and the receivers — coaches aren't around. There's some leadership there from all of the players. Obviously going out to San Diego, it sounds like it's a heck of a facility. I talked to Russell. He actually sent me the film of the throwing that they did, and I could tell they got really good work in. That's why I think they're off to a real good start."
If Wilson can quickly pick up Hackett's offense, it's might be possible for him to avoid the slow starts that plagued both Manning and Brady with their new teams, and if that happens, the Broncos might very well become a dark horse Super Bowl contender for 2022.