ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)Russell Wilson won’t be cutting back on his scrambling – or thinking twice about taking off for a first down – even in light of his recent concussion.
Big hits come with the territory.
”I didn’t sign up for tennis,” the Denver Broncos quarterback said. ”I signed up to play a physical game. You’re going to get hit. … I’m not afraid to get in there, too, and mix it up a little bit if I have to.”
Wilson said after practice Wednesday that he feels ”great, great, great” as he and the Broncos (4-10) prepare to play in Los Angeles against the Rams (4-10) on Christmas Day. He’s off the injury report, too.
The veteran quarterback sustained a concussion on a head-first dive into several defenders at the goal line against Kansas City on Dec. 11. Although he passed the concussion protocols, Wilson was a spectator – out of safety concerns – as his backup, Brett Rypien, helped the Broncos rally for a 24-15 win over Arizona last Sunday to halt a five-game skid.
Against the Cardinals, Wilson spent the day bundled up in a heavy jacket and pacing around the sideline – cheering on the defense, communicating with Rypien and talking to his receivers.
”I was ready to help whatever way I could,” Wilson said. ”This game is about us winning, and to find ways for us to win.”
Wilson understood the decision to hold him out for the second time this season. He sat out the Broncos’ loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 23 with a hamstring injury.
”I’m ready to ready to rock and roll,” Wilson said.
”I’m excited. I’m excited to get back on the field,” said Wilson, who was injured early in the fourth quarter against Kansas City as he led the Broncos back from a 27-0 deficit in a game they lost 34-28. ”It’s so important to use my legs, to use my arm, to get outside the pocket. I think we did a great job of that in the Chiefs game.”
Over his career, Wilson has amassed 4,904 yards rushing, which is fourth-most in league history among quarterbacks. He’s closing in on Randall Cunningham (4,928), with Michael Vick (6,109) and Cam Newton (5,628) looming ahead of him.
First-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said the team won’t take a conservative approach with Wilson’s playmaking mobility.
”He’s full go. We’re full go,” Hackett said. ”We want to see him execute, get the ball out of his hands when that’s there. And then if something happens, yes, we don’t want him to stay in the pocket and take a hit. We want him to use his legs and protect himself.”
Wilson has 39,864 yards passing in his career, the sixth-most among NFL QBs through their first 11 seasons. He’s trying to join the company of those who’ve reached 40,000 yards passing through 11 seasons, a list that includes Matt Ryan (46,720), Peyton Manning (45,628), Matthew Stafford (41,025), Drew Brees (40,742) and Dan Marino (40,720).
Denver’s offense under Wilson has struggled all season. He’s thrown for 2,805 yards and 11 touchdowns. His career low for TD passes was 20 with Seattle in 2014. He also had a career-best six rushing TDs that season.
The Broncos have dealt with a string of injuries to their offensive line and wide receivers.
”I’ve never been a part of a season this wild – a lot of injuries,” Wilson said. ”We’re excited about this game right here (at Los Angeles). That’s all that matters.”
NOTES: Pass rusher Randy Gregory (knee) didn’t practice Wednesday. Hackett said it was a maintenance day as Gregory returns from a knee injury. … WR Kendall Hinton (hamstring) didn’t practice while fellow wideout Courtland Sutton (hamstring) was limited. … OL Quinn Meinerz left the game Sunday with an eye injury. ”It looks wicked. He’s got a nice shiner and his eye’s puffy,” Hackett said. ”I think he’ll be all right.” … With the weather turning bitterly cold, the Broncos expect to move inside for practice Thursday.
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