Russell Wilson became the Seattle Seahawks all-time leader in passing yards (37,059) and passing touchdowns (292) in 10 seasons in the Pacific Northwest, nine of which he earned Pro Bowl selections for his efforts. Now-retired Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright spent nine of those seasons alongside Wilson as the two reached consecutive Super Bowls, coming out on top in Super Bowl XLVIII to conclude the 2013 season.
After Wilson had the worst season of his career with lows in completion percentage (60.5%, 31st in NFL), passing touchdowns (16, tied for 19th), and passer rating (84.4), the Denver Broncos quickly dispatched of head coach Nathaniel Hackett in Wilson's first season in Colorado. His replacement is future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees' mentor, Sean Payton. Wilson's old teammate is unsure how that duo will mesh as a quarterback-head coach tandem because of the relationship dynamic Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had with Wilson.
"This [the Wilson and Payton partnership in Denver] is going to be a sight to see because for 10 years Coach Carroll did a good job of, I'm not going to say protecting Russ, but he shielded him like 'hey, the defense is going to be the lead dog, you're going to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch,'" Wright said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Thursday. "'When you do mess up, I'm going to address it, but for the most part defense it's going to be all on you.'"
Wright continued saying he's heard from players around the league how Payton, a one-time Super Bowl winner over 15 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, runs his meeting with a much sharper tone than Carroll's. Payton also oversaw an offseason in which the Broncos signed 26-year-old quarterback Jarrett Stidham to a two-year, $10 million deal in free agency. Stidham could be used as a motivating factor for Wilson to get back on track in Year 2 in the Orange and Blue.
"I heard how he [Sean Payton' runs his meetings," Wright said. "After a loss if you played bad, Sean Payton will let you know loud and clear how he feels about you. That's the question. Can Russ handle the critique, the harshness, the 'hey, you have to better and I'm calling you out in front of the entire football team?' I'm sure Nathaniel Hackett wasn't a Sean Payton-type of personality."
While the only way to find out is to see it live starting September, Wright's personal testimony certainly casts some doubt about how the two Super Bowl champions will mesh.