ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Amidst a two-game losing streak, Russell Wilson has kept important perspective.
Asked Thursday whether the Broncos' recent struggles have been tough, Wilson pointed to a time in his life that was truly a challenge.
"I've had tough times," Wilson said. "… You ask me how tough these times are. When people ask me that question, I always think about my dad, because he was on his deathbed.
"We're talking about playing football and what I love to do. [There's] a lot of season left, a lot of season left. A lot of greatness in store. I've done it before, and I'm going to do it again. That's what I really think about."
Wilson, indeed, has done it before. In his 10 years in Seattle, Wilson faced a two-game losing streak on 12 occasions — and his teams almost always responded. Just once has the losing streak swelled to three games, and that came in 2021 in his first games back from a finger injury. The Broncos, meanwhile, have nine losing streaks of at least three games since the start of the 2016 season.
As he attempts to lead the Broncos to a win against the Chargers and back into the mix in the AFC wild-card race, Wilson is highly motivated — but not by the criticism that has swirled outside of UCHealth Training Center.
"I'm motivated, but not by criticism," Wilson said. "I don't think you get motivated by that. For me, I'm always motivated. At this point in my career, I don't necessarily have to [get] motivated — I'm always there. I think you always want to be great; you always want to be exceptional every time you step onto the field. I understand that sometimes it doesn't always happen, but at the same time, [it's about] knowing that you're working for that."
Yet while he's not motivated by the criticism and has faced far tougher situations, Wilson also believes that he is ready for the current moment.
"I think that for me, I can handle it," Wilson said. "I'm built for it. I'm built for the good times and the tough times. We're going to come out on the other end of it. Really how you get out of it, and as a team, how we continue to keep building to where we're going and what we're doing is focus on today. Nothing else matters. Today has to be the best day that we've had so far. That would be [the case] no matter what our record is, [even] if we were 5-0 — which we could have had a chance to be at, potentially. The reality of it is we are where we are right now, which is here on a Thursday, [a football] Wednesday, and we have to make it special."
Wilson is no stranger to battling adversity, but as he works with his teammates to find a find success, he said the criticism that comes with tough times cannot define a person.
"When everybody is talking about you, positively or negatively or whatever it may be, you understand that life is much greater than just what somebody else says about you," Wilson said.
Wilson, though, believes in his and his teammates' ability to battle forward and find success despite the current obstacles.
"We're going to come [out] on the other side of it," Wilson said. "The adversity, it builds you. It builds character, it builds perseverance, it builds all of that greatness and all of that tough stuff that people don't necessarily want to go through. I'm willing to go through it. I'm looking forward to the obstacles, I'm looking forward to coming on the other end of it."
RUSSELL WILSON'S CAREER REGULAR-SEASON RECORD FOLLOWING A TWO-GAME LOSING STREAK
|2012||7 & 8||Won seven of next eight|
|2014||6 & 7||Won nine of next 10|
|2015||1 & 2||Won next two|
|2015||5 & 6||Won eight of next 10|
|2017||14 & 15||Won next game|
|2018||1 & 2||Won four of next five|
|2018||9 & 10||Won six of next seven|
|2019||16 & 17||End of regular season|
|2020||9 & 10||Won six of next seven|
|2021||2 & 3||Won next game|
|2021||10 & 11||Lost next game, won ensuing two|
|2021||15 & 16||Won next two games|
|2022||4 & 5||TBD|
FEAST OR FAMINE
As the Broncos' offense looks to find more success, the unit must reconcile its big-play ability with a proclivity for negative plays that have pushed the Broncos behind the chains. Denver must find a way to mesh its desire to take shots while avoiding putting themselves in second-and-long and third-and-long scenarios.
"That's a fantastic question," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said. "That's been the thing that we have been looking at over and over and over again, because we want to be aggressive. We love the explosive plays and they have been great, but our feast-[or]-famine [style] has really hurt us. It set us back. Whether we get big chunks, and then once you get a big chunk, and then you end up setting yourself back for certain reasons. And again, that's not necessarily one person. It's a combination of everybody together and I think it's those guys just playing together. So I think that for us, we're just going to continue to coach the fundamentals and the basics and just capitalize on the simple things and not feel like we have to do something more or overthink things.
"I think as these guys continually work together and play together, I think it's going to get better and we're going to be able to limit those things, because right now first-down efficiency is what is really killing us."