Eleven things about the Broncos as they close out a disappointing regular season with a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
1. After Denver’s finale against the Chargers, CEO Greg Penner’s search for a new head coach will kick into high gear. Requests for interviews and the interviews themselves — depending on availability and playoff scenarios — will begin as early as the coming week. As the search develops, interviews will cover a lot of ground. Quarterback Russell Wilson, of course, will be a major topic of conversation. What does he want to see in a head coach?
2. “What we desire and what we want as players is, we all want to win, you know?” Wilson said this week. “We want a winner. We want a person that’s going to encourage us and challenge us at the same time. Push us the furthest to the edge every day and also teach us how to be better men everyday, too. All that counts.”
3. Whether the head coach himself comes from an offensive background or is a defensive mind and hires a coordinator, helping Wilson get past a poor 2022 season will be paramount. Part of any candidate’s profile will be the plan for Wilson, what they think he can and should be as a player going forward, and how to maximize his skill set.
4. The quarterback will be entering his 12th professional season in 2023. Unlike last year, however, he’ll have been in Denver for the entire offseason. Last year, Hackett was hired first and then Wilson traded for. This, then, is the first time in his football career that Wilson has had a new head coach arrive to the team he plays for. He had 10 years of Pete Carroll in Seattle, one of Bret Bielema at Wisconsin and four of Tom O’Brien at North Carolina State. Does Wilson want to be part of the search for a new coach?
5. “I know Greg and (general manager George Paton), they’re going to do a great job with the executive team upstairs,” Wilson said. “They’re going to do a great job of finding a great head coach. There’s some great options, obviously. A lot of amazing coaches and brilliant people that have been really, really successful coaching the game. Have gone to Super Bowls, won them, been to them, been at the highest level in whatever facet that may be.
6. “And then there’s also some brilliant minds, too, that are younger as well. I know they’re going to do a great job in the search. For me, it’s whatever way I can help if there’s anything, but they’re going to do a great job. They’ve got a great team of people.”
7. Wilson last week called the opening a “special job” and had another sales pitch for potential candidates on Thursday.
8. “This is a great job. This is a great place to be,” he said. “I didn’t realize there was 300 days of sunshine here. I knew our fans were great, but just the energy of this city has been special. I know it hasn’t been our best days, but better days are coming. When we get on a hot streak and we start winning, hopefully we can win a ring or two or more, it will be even that much sweeter.”
9. First things, first, though, the Broncos will try to beat the Chargers and close a disappointing season with a fifth win. “We’re excited just to play this game this week. There’s so much ahead. There’s so much great ahead and so much to look forward to, but as we know now, it’s just, enjoy today. Enjoy today with such great joy and peace and love for this game and love for those around you.”
10. A parting thought from the quarterback near the end of his worst season so far as a pro and his first with the Broncos:
11. “The young guys are building up, the vets are looking really great. It’s just coming together. I know it’s a little late. Hopefully we’ll start early next year. We’ve got to have a great offseason and that starts with me and everybody else. I love it here and it’s going to be special and I’m looking forward to whoever (the next head coach) may be.”
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