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Mile High Morning: Russell Wilson is 'the piece that we needed,' John Elway says


The Lead

With the trade that brought Russell Wilson to Denver, the Broncos have returned to the high expectations that comes with having an elite quarterback, and perhaps no one understands that as well as the legendary Broncos quarterback and current front office executive John Elway.

At a press conference announcing the 2024 BMW Championship golf tournament, Elway spoke about Wilson's arrival and how it's changed the trajectory for the franchise in these early months.

"There's no question," Elway said. "I think he's kind of the piece that we needed. We had a good football team around him, and I think that George [Paton] did a tremendous job of putting that deal together and getting him up here. I know it's great to see the fan base energized again, and we've got a chance to compete in that AFC West, which obviously is going to be tough."

Competition within the division will be at a level that hasn't been seen in a long time, as each team in the division has a top-notch quarterback under center.

"It makes it tough," Elway said. "And the thing is, they're young, too. That's what makes it even tougher. But it'll make it exciting here for the fans in Denver. Hopefully we can figure out how to get to the top of the AFC West."

To do that, Elway cautioned, the Broncos will have to ensure they maintain their availability on the field.

"Like anything, we've got to stay healthy," Elway said. "We've had a tough time of doing that the last several years, and so if we can stay healthy — Russ has been there. He's won Super Bowls, he knows what it takes. The leadership that he's providing is tremendous."

Below the Fold

While Nik Bonitto may have had to wait until the second round to hear his name called in the 2022 NFL Draft, he could be in a position like few other players.'s Marc Ross picked Bonitto as one of 10 rookies "in the most favorable positions to succeed in 2022 and beyond."

"The Broncos already had a pair of dynamic pass rushers in Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory, assuming both are healthy and available," Ross wrote. "With these two vets eating up the attention, Bonitto can really be a pass-rushing specialist in his rookie campaign, bringing energy and speed off the edge to get into the offensive backfield.

"The rookie -- and the rest of the Broncos' pass rushers -- should have regular opportunities to create pressure, thanks to an improved offense that will force opponents to play catch-up. Denver averaged fewer than 20 points per game in 2021, but the Broncos are poised to score many more points with the addition of an elite quarterback in Russell Wilson."

Meanwhile, the most heartwarming news of the week comes via 9NEWS' Mike Klis, who recently shared the story of a Mother's Day present that punter Sam Martin provided for a single mother and her daughter. The gift entailed tickets to a Broadway show, transportation and dinner at a steakhouse, Klis reported.

"We got in touch with the daughter and she said it was something her mother really needed and could use right now," Martin said. "It had been a while since they've been able to do anything, anything fun. It wound up being kind of a perfect little storm."

The Unclassifieds

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