Broncos first offseason practice featured new leaders: QB Russell Wilson, head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
ENGLEWOOD, Col. — And on the first day of offseason practicethe new quarterback, Russell Wilson, faked a handoff to the new coach, then reared up and threw.
Yes, Nathaniel Hackett is a hands-on coach.
“He just brings great energy,” Wilson said. “He’s young, he’s vibrant, he brings that intelligence to the game. Obviously he has a great pedigree. He wants to win too, so. But our relationship is really tight. To give him a little handoff here and there. Somebody said they called him White Lightning. I don’t know.”
It was the first day of the Broncos voluntary minicamp. It’s an extra one that only teams with a new coach get.
“You want guys to come out here and want to practice and want to get better – and Russ leads that charge,” Hackett said. “I mean, this guy loves practice. Out there in the end, he was ‘Wait. We’re done? Can we do more?’ I’m like I would love to but we’ve got to tone it down. Baby steps.”
Broncos begin minicamp workouts
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During and after his first practice with the Broncos, it’s easy to see why Wilson is such a leader. So confidant. Command presence. He stands stable and straight when addressing the media. Smart with his words. Constantly compliments teammates.
And as general manager George Paton looked on with former GM John Elway, it’s become clear in recent days that Wilson carries another title: GM consultant.
“I talk to Russ daily and I kind of tell him our plan, what we’re looking for, and our needs,” Paton said Friday at his pre-draft press conference. “Russ is a football junky. He’ll want to know what players we’re looking at, and I’ll tell him. He’ll watch them and give me his opinion. He’s a great resource. It’s good having him around. “
Don’t misunderstand. Wilson doesn’t call the shots with the roster. But he does want to stay involved. And, yes, he can watch tape on a draft prospect and give Paton – who seeks input from everyone – his thoughts.
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“In terms of getting that knowledge and everything that he’s thinking we have so many great players and going through the draft process, playing 10 years in the league and playing a lot of football you know what it takes a little bit,” Wilson said. “George is always giving me ideas – hey, what do you think about this guy? Check this guy out. I love football. I’m passionate about it. I’m passionate about the game. I’m passionate about doing everything I can help this team win.”
There is a looong way to go before the before the Broncos jell enough to become a playoff contender. But for starters, the new coach and quarterback already have their play-action pass down pat.
“I always wanted to play running back when I was younger,” Hackett said, who lined up in the tailback position and ran up to take the fake from his quarterback during one drill. “No, you want to make everything game-like as much as possible. Especially in the play-pass world you want your quarterback to feel somebody back there. I feel like I gave it a realistic look, maybe not.”
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