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Broncos OT Garett Bolles backs Russell Wilson, says QB's critics to 'eat crow' in 2023

By this point, everyone knows how spectacular Denver's face-plant was in 2022.

Hopes of a Super Bowl quickly crumbled in the Mile High City, where Russell Wilson and the Broncos proved they weren't contenders, but pretenders under the since-fired Nathaniel Hackett.

Sean Payton is now in charge and Denver has a renewed sense of optimism. Count offensive tackle Garett Bolles as one of the hopefuls who not only believes the Broncos will surprise folks, but also that Wilson is going to shock the world.

"He's a great dude, he's the same guy every single day, he works his butt off," Bolles said, via "And I'm ready for that stuff to go away and when it goes, everyone's going to eat crow.''

Denver's disintegration wasn't simply a tale of a team failing to meet expectations. Following the disappointing 2022 season, reports emerged describing special treatment of Wilson, who reportedly kept his own office in the Broncos' facility, among other things. Bolles said Thursday those reports angered him, and he's taking them "very personal."

"I think he's phenomenal," Bolles said. "... We knew who he was as a person, we know who is. ... I love him dearly. I think he's one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game the last 10 years. Stats don't lie, just because you have one rough season in the last 10 years you can't dictate what type of guy, his personality, what he goes through."

Bolles took a defensive stand in the face of criticism regarding Wilson, which shouldn't come as a surprise: He's the man tasked with defending Wilson's blindside on the field. If anyone is responsible for protecting Wilson, it's Bolles.

But his comments on Thursday represent Bolles taking a significant next step in his duties. He's not just guarding his quarterback -- he's promising redemption.

Bolles believes he has good reason to be confident that Wilson will turn around what was a miserable season for the All-Pro and Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

"He's the same guy, he doesn't change; he's a leader," Bolles said. "... He's one of the winningest quarterbacks [the] last 10 years, you guys know the stats, that's just who he is. ... Random rumors and things like that and the fire burns. It's like a forest fire, you start in one corner and the wind blows and it just burns thousands and thousands of acres, and that's sort of what happened.

"[But] he's not focused on that, he just wants to win."

Because the Broncos traded so much to acquire Wilson, they have no choice but to turn it around in 2023. The alternative means mass firings, save for perhaps Payton, another key figure for whom Denver had to trade away assets to add.

The pressure is on. Bolles is attempting to ensure Wilson never feels even a hint of it.

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