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Broncos Legend Blasts Russell Wilson: ‘What I Saw Was Garbage’



Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson

Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth, who won two Super Bowls with the team in the late 1990s, unleashed on the current state of the franchise and Russell Wilson during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Thursday.

“For eight years this place has been garbage and the Denver Broncos used to be a crown jewel of the National Football League,” Schlereth said. And they’re not, they’re irrelevant. And we keep putting Band-Aids on things and think that that’s going to fix it.

Schlereth also had some choice words for Wilson, as the nine-time Pro Bowler never lived up to the expectations of the five-year $245 million contract extension that he signed with the Broncos in 2022 after being dealt by Seattle. Wilson was informed by the Broncos this week that he will be released, and given permission to speak with other teams before the official start of free agency.

“He threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in the league last year. He took more time to throw the ball than everybody in the league other than Justin Fields. I think he completed 26% of his passes, intermediate range in the middle of the football field, which was dead last in the National Football League last year. So you can sit there and tell me that he played good and you can look at the numbers and tell me 26 and 8 is good and I will tell you it’s garbage. What I saw was garbage and I’m just letting you know how it is,” Schlereth said firmly.

Schlereth is spot-on that Wilson threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in 2023. According to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football, Wilson threw 27% of his passes behind the line of scrimmage last season, the highest out of 509 QBs since 2005. He also threw 62% of his passes within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, the second-highest out of 509 QBs since 2005 (*509 QBs in sample with a min 300 attempts in a season).

“Sean Payton had no confidence in Wilson’s intermediate passing. The 2023 Broncos had the least amount of intermediate passing of any offense since 2005,” Sharp wrote on X. “Wilson threw just 26% of his passes between 5-15 yards downfield, the lowest out of 509 QBs since 2005. It was nothing but record breaking rates of underneath passes and the occasional moon ball downfield.”

Schlereth isn’t the only person with close ties to the Broncos organization to rip Wilson lately, as former Steelers linebacker and current Broncos analyst Chad Brown, did as well.

Brown blamed Wilson for not being coachable in Denver.

“He would not go through his progressions right. He would run the play not as it was called by Sean Payton but in the Russell Wilson way,” Brown said in an interview with Matt Koll of 93.7 The Fan last week. “So the defense did not get the look that Sean Payton was trying the defense to see, therefore the setup never happened for the explosive play to be successful later on in the ball game. So that was a major issue for Sean Payton. That’s why I think Russell Wilson was benched, because as the play-caller, you want someone to go out there and execute the play.”

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Thursday that the Steelers are interested in signing former Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and are tentatively planning to meet with the Super Bowl winner before the start of free agency. Wilson has interest in joining the Steelers, as well. This is the first time that there’s actually been concrete information that the Steelers and Wilson have a mutual interest.

Following Dulac’s report on Thursday, Wilson’s became the odds-on favorite to be the Steelers’ Week 1 starting quarterback in 2024, according to Betonline. Wilson has been linked to the Steelers all offseason.

General manager Omar Khan and head coach Mike Tomlin have both said that Pittsburgh is in the market for competition for incumbent starting quarterback Kenny Pickett this offseason.