The Broncos had been in search of a quarterback for years. Russell Wilson was looking for a new NFL home for at least a year. That explains the pure joy emanating out of Denver in the aftermath of their alliance.
"A little scream," is how coach Nathaniel Hackett described his real-time reaction to the Wilson trade, in an interview with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting. "It was one of those somewhat high-pitched, but still wanted to be kind of manly screams. When you get a great player like that, to be able to be around him and get to know him as I have now, it's exciting."
Hackett just arrived in Denver himself. But he surely screams for everyone in the organization and the fan base who has endured the club's carousel of mediocre quarterbacks since Peyton Manning retired following the 2015 season.
Wilson is undoubtedly an upgrade, and he joins an offense loaded with weapons. Whether he and the Broncos are a match made in Mile High heaven, though, could ultimately come down to his connection with his new head coach. Hackett notably forged a strong relationship with Aaron Rodgers over their three years together, which culminated in back-to-back MVPs for the Packers QB.
From a personality standpoint, Hackett and Wilson might have more in common as eternal optimists. The first-year coach said he and his new star pupil have been texting each other "nonstop."
"We're just trying to get to know each other," Hackett said. "He's very, very excited as I am too. And I think for the both of us, for any coach, you want a guy that's fired up, that wants ownership, that wants to go out there and not skip a beat. He wants to represent the Broncos and himself, the coaches, everybody. And that's the passion that you're hunting. And I think that's what Russell brings every single day. And it is every single day, and at every minute of the day. Now the good thing is, I don't know how many people he's been around like me, so we're always kind of battling with each other to see who can push the other. …
"We're joined at the hip now and I love being on his hip."
Hackett said he's also been on Wilson's recent film. It's an important study given his uneven play over the past two seasons with the Seahawks. Of course, that stretch also involved a pair of Pro Bowl nods and a fair share of clutch performances. Hackett sees one thing in particular that he must unlock from the 33-year-old QB.
"I just think the consistency," Hackett said. "And even when we say that, we say what that 'peak Russ' is, what Russ does compared to other people, he's spectacular. And we might say, he should have more stats, he should be at this level. Even a bad day for Russ is a really good day for a lot of people. So I think it's about consistency.
"It's about him establishing himself as one of the best in the league, which he already is. And just continually doing that over and over in each game. Anytime you have a guy like that, you're always going to have a chance to win, too. We just want to be sure that we're doing all the right stuff."