With so many quarterbacks finding new homes this offseason, former NFL quarterback and current NFL.com analyst David Carr has taken up the challenge of trying to project ballpark figures for those quarterbacks in their first seasons with their new teams.
For Russell Wilson, Carr's expectations are high. The talent, of course, is evident, but the key factor, Carr writes, is how Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett marries his concepts with Wilson's skills.
"I think we can all agree that Wilson is a great quarterback who's going to do well in Denver," Carr writes. "The thing that will be a huge factor in Wilson's success is Nathaniel Hackett. … Hackett knows how to work out a compromise so a veteran QB can have control at the line of scrimmage without changing the entire scheme. And now that we know Hackett and Wilson are 'joined at the hip,' I envision Wilson having one of the best statistical years of his career while not compromising his skill set or Hackett's vision for the offense."
In Carr's eyes, that means a completion percentage of 67 percent, 4,200 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Those marks would rank third, third, sixth and fifth in Wilson's career. No Broncos quarterback has thrown for at least 30 touchdowns or 4,200 yards since Peyton Manning passed for 39 touchdowns and more than 4,700 yards in 2014.
What makes this feat seem particularly reasonable is not just that Wilson is still in the prime of his career. It's also that the Broncos have a top-notch receiving corps led by Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick at Wilson's disposal, as well as what should be an exciting offensive scheme led by Hackett, which makes those numbers all appear well within the realm of possibility.
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As ESPN’s Jeff Legwold writes, the key to Wilson succeeding will be making him comfortable in the offense. The private workouts with receivers that Wilson held last month can be a significant part of that, especially as the team has to wait until the appropriate offseason program phase to begin installing the new offense.
"Wilson can work through general concepts that figure to be in the offense, improve timing with the receivers and build a rapport with teammates even if all involved don't have the terminology Hackett may use for specific plays," Legwold wrote. "For his part, Hackett has said he will use some of what he saw Matt LaFleur do as the first-year coach with the Green Bay Packers, installing an offense for a proven Pro Bowl quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Hackett spent three seasons as LaFleur's offensive coordinator before he was hired by the Broncos."