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Broncos GM George Paton backs Nathaniel Hackett, Russell Wilson after 2-5 start to 2022 season

The Broncos brought together a handful of new, key figures this past offseason with the hopes of winning a Super Bowl. So far, it's not going as planned.

Denver stands at 2-5 after seven games as it prepares for a crucial game on Sunday in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's only Week 8, but the Broncos' slow start has heightened the urgency in the month ahead.

"Obviously, the results aren't there," Broncos general manager George Paton said Thursday. "[It's] not good enough at 2-5. We all need to get better, and it starts with me. I do believe in this football team, and I do believe in the people in our building -- our coaching staff. We can turn it around. It's only seven games. We've been in every game, [but] that's not what it's all about. It's about winning games. We need to learn how to win football games. We haven't done that."

Denver needs to win games now, and continue winning to preserve hopes of a playoff berth. And both new coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson need to perform better than they have to this point.

Hackett, for one, made quite a blunder in his head-coaching debut in Seattle, mismanaging the clock and ultimately settling for a highly unlikely 64-yard field goal attempt at the end of a Week 1 loss. It was a disastrous finish for a team that entered 2022 with high hopes, and set the tone for a season that has largely followed the same theme. 

However, Paton isn't making Hackett out as a scapegoat. There's still time to turn this season around, and Paton remains confident in his hire.

"I believe in Nathaniel," Paton said Thursday. "I support Nathaniel 100 percent. He's been in this for seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he's faced is unprecedented.

"We have had four prime-time games, so he's kind of had to learn in front of the entire world. I really like how he's kept the team together; they're connected. He's kept our building together, and I appreciate how he's fought through that."

Wilson, meanwhile, has not performed at the level expected of a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback. The prized offseason acquisition is currently responsible for career-low marks in completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio, passer rating and win-loss record. He's also continued to perform at a lower rate than he'd established prior to a thumb injury suffered in Week 5 of his final season with Seattle, posting a passer rating nearly 20 points lower than before the injury.

It's a concerning sign to most, but Paton believes, as Wilson said Wednesday, this is only a temporary storm that will pass soon enough. The GM attributed Wilson's and the offense's struggles to a lack of familiarity more than anything else, which he thinks will improve with time. They plan to give Wilson plenty of it.

"I'm not concerned. We're in it for the long haul with Russ, not the first seven games," Paton said. "We believe in Russ, and I believe in Russ. We just need to play better on offense. The timing, the rhythm -- we need an identity. We really don't have an identity on offense, and I think that comes with time. Hopefully, it comes soon."

Denver quickly committed to Wilson for the years ahead, signing him to a five-year, $245 million extension at the start of September. So far, the results haven't matched the salary. If Paton is right, Wilson will eventually meet expectations. If not, Denver will have bigger problems on its hands.

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