ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Russell Wilson is bemused by the latest barb from Pete Carroll after the Seattle Seahawks coach threw more shade at him while praising his successor, Geno Smith.
Carroll was talking about the Seahawks' surprising success in 2022 when he mentioned that a big difference this season is Smith's willingness to wear a wristband to help facilitate the play-calling.
“If you notice, Geno's going off the wristband, and that's a big help,” Carroll told Seattle Sports 710 AM on Tuesday. “It's smoothed things out, sped things up. And that's part of it, too. We never did that before. There was resistance to that. So, we didn't do that before.”
Asked Wednesday about Carroll's comments, Wilson responded: “I don't know exactly what he said, but I think, you know, (I) won a lot of games there without one on the wrist. And I didn't know winning or losing mattered if you wore the wristband or not.”
When players wear the bulky bands on their non-throwing forearm, whoever is calling the plays can just give the QB a specific number, rather than a convoluted play with all the protections and built-in nuances. That way, there's less chance something gets missed in the relay to his teammates, the team can break the huddle quicker and the quarterback has more time to survey the defense at the line of scrimmage.
Wilson wore a wristband in the Broncos' last game, a 21-17 come-from-behind win over the Jaguars in London before their bye last week.
Wilson went 104-53-1 in the regular season in his decade in Seattle, plus 9-7 in the playoffs, which included the Seahawks' only Super Bowl championship, a 43-8 demolition of Denver and Peyton Manning's record-breaking 2013 offense.
Wilson's fractured relationship with Carroll led to the quarterback’s stunning departure from Seattle eight months ago when Broncos GM George Paton agreed to send three players and four prime draft picks to the Seahawks for the nine-time Pro Bowl QB.
The Broncos figured they had finally solved their quarterback conundrum that included 11 different starters following Manning's retirement in 2016.
Paton signed Wilson to a $245 million extension before the Broncos opened the season back in Seattle, where Carroll took a potshot at Wilson following the Seahawks' 17-16 win, gloating that he knew all his weaknesses and had schemed to get Wilson moving to his left.
It took Wilson two weeks to respond to that barb.
“I guess I can still go left,” Wilson cracked after he engineered a fourth-quarter comeback against the 49ers in a game the Broncos won 11-10. The key play came on third-and-10 from his own 33 when he bought time by spinning to his left and launched a 27-yard completion on the run.
Wilson also has led fourth-quarter comebacks against the Texans and Jaguars, but he's off to the worst start of his career, with just six TD passes and 20 sacks in seven starts.
At 3-5 under first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett, the Broncos are among the league's biggest disappointments. A turnaround in a brutal second-half schedule is needed for Denver to avoid a sixth straight losing season and stretching its playoff drought to seven years.
Smith has been one of the league's biggest surprises in the topsy-turvy 2022 season, leading the Seahawks to first place in the NFC West at 6-3. He's completing a whopping 73.1% of his passes and has thrown for 15 touchdowns with four interceptions in his first season as a starting quarterback since he went 3-10 in his second season with the Jets (2014).
NOTES: S Justin Simmons was a surprise name on the Broncos' injury report Wednedsay with a sprained knee he suffered in London two weeks ago. Hackett called him day to day. Also missing practice were RT Cam Fleming (thigh) and OLB Baron Browning (hip). ... With Bradley Chubb's trade to Miami, the Broncos named S Kareem Jackson their defensive captain.