Broncos Russell Wilson on Critics – ‘Getting Used to’ Facing Doubts

Jeff LegoldSenior writer for ESPNSeptember 6, 2023 at 06:31 PM ET3 minutes to read

How fast is Sean Payton off the bench Russell Wilson?

Mike Tannenbaum and Kimberly A. Martin analyzed Sean Payton’s letter to Russell Wilson on how to salvage his NFL career.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been one of the biggest topics of conversation and criticism about the team throughout the offseason, was asked Wednesday if he “keeps receipts” about any of it along the way.

“Uh, I guess you put it in your back pocket sometimes,” Wilson said after the team’s practice. “Listen, I’m used to some of those who believe and some of those who doubt. When you play the highest stakes and dream of being the best you can be every single day, there will always be people who wonder if you can do it or not.”

The Broncos open the season against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High. This would be Sean Payton’s regular season debut as the team’s head coach and first real insight into the team’s new rules of play as well as Wilson’s role in it.

The Payton-Wilson relationship has been one of the most discussed topics in the league, both in the media and among the Broncos fanbase, since Payton’s arrival in February. Wilson struggled mightily last season, his worst as a pro, as the Broncos finished last in the league in scoring.

Wilson caught a career-low 16 touchdown passes and was sacked 55 times. He was also hit so much that he suffered a muscle tear below his right shoulder, a hamstring injury and a concussion during the season.

“I think I’ve proven throughout my career what I can do and (must) do it again,” Wilson said.

“There is always something to show and prove,” he added.

Payton praised Wilson’s work throughout training camp and pre-season and promised to match the offense to Wilson’s skill set. NBC’s Chris Collinsworth said earlier this week that Payton didn’t need to “fix” Wilson, he had to “find” him.

“I think that’s a very good observation,” Payton said. “We’ve talked about it ad nauseam, and the things he (Wilson) does really well is put him in those situations, put our offense in those situations, and I agree with what he said. It makes a lot of sense to me.” Our job is to find him.”

Said Wilson: “Obviously last year wasn’t what we wanted. Now it’s about going out on the field and doing it, doing what we know how to do.”

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