Nov 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (91) hits Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers, Broncos focus on better quarterback play

Scrutiny has fallen on Denver quarterback Russell Wilson, with his first season with the Broncos not going as planned.

The Carolina Panthers are also struggling with quarterback issues but they don’t have just one QB to place all the blame on.

Both teams are looking for improvement under center as Denver visits Carolina for Sunday afternoon’s game in Charlotte, N.C.

The Panthers are turning to Sam Darnold, who was the 2021 opening-day starter, to begin this game at quarterback. It will be his first start of the season.

Darnold, who made 11 starts last year, will be the third starter at quarterback in as many weeks for Carolina. Baker Mayfield’s return to that role didn’t go well vs. the Ravens.

The Panthers (3-8) didn’t score a touchdown last week at Baltimore.

“We’ve flushed it,” Carolina interim coach Steve Wilks said. “Our mindset is on Denver.”

But if the Panthers think they have problems on offense, just look at Denver.

The Broncos (3-7) have lost two games in a row.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to get that rhythm back,” Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “Russell is so positive, it seems like he’s in a good place.”

The Broncos are last in the NFL in scoring at 14.7 points per game.

“Trying to find consistency and rhythm on offense,” Denver receiver Courtland Sutton said. “We’ve just got to finish at the end of the day. Losing is not OK. We have to win out to have any chance (of reaching the playoffs).”

Wilson has thrown just seven touchdowns passes to go with five interceptions. Most glaring might be that he has been sacked 32 times.

It’s unclear if receiver Jerry Jeudy will be back after missing a game with an ankle injury. Already gone from the Broncos is running back Melvin Gordon, who was waived after coughing up five fumbles despite a team-best 318 yards on the ground.

That moves Latavius Murray into the role as top running back for Denver. Running back Chase Edmonds was placed on injured reserve.

“That means more opportunities for me, so I have to take advantage,” Murray said.

Wilson will be back in the state where he played for North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin. The Broncos will also have receiver Kendall Hinton, a former college quarterback at Wake Forest, playing in his home state and his role has increased the past few weeks.

While acknowledging the fluid situation at quarterback — and with PJ Walker’s status unclear as he deals with an ankle injury — Wilks said attention should be spread to other spots.

“When you say inconsistent, I think you can really pinpoint it across the board at each position,” Wilks said. “We’re trying to find the right mix.”

The offensive line and secondary have been trouble spots at times for the Panthers. Now they’re addressing indecisiveness from running backs, something that was put on the list of areas to address after the Baltimore game.

“We’re all looking at options across the board,” Wilks said. “At every position right now, we’re trying to figure out who’s going to give us the best opportunity to win.”

The Panthers have won only once in seven meetings with Denver, that coming in 2008 at home. The most devastating loss for Carolina in the series came in the Super Bowl to end the 2015 season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; London, United Kingdom, Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (25) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos waive veteran RB Melvin Gordon III

The Denver Broncos waived running back Melvin Gordon III on Monday, a day after his costly red-zone fumble in the team’s overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

It was his fifth fumble in 10 games (six starts) this season.

The Broncos were up 10-7 and had a third-and-1 from the Raiders 3-yard line and Gordon took the handoff. He reached for first-down yardage, but the Raiders’ Maxx Crosby knocked the ball away. Right guard Quinn Meinerz recovered the fumble, and Brandon McManus attempted a 25-yard field goal that Crosby blocked.

The Raiders went on to win 22-16.

“In that situation, he’s got to be smart with it and he can’t fumble,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “He knows that. You just can’t do that. It’s unacceptable. We’ve got to find a way to get the ball in the end zone.”

Gordon carried the ball just three times in the second half and finished the game with eight carries for 31 yards. On the season, the 29-year-old veteran has 318 yards on 90 carries with two touchdowns and 223 yards on 25 catches.

“My share of opportunities kind of dwindled after that, but that’s my fault,” Gordon said.

A first-round selection by the then-San Diego Chargers in the 2015 NFL Draft, Gordon has 8,929 yards from scrimmage and 69 touchdowns in 109 games (94 starts) for the Chargers (2015-19) and Broncos. He has 26 career fumbles.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talks with quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Broncos hand play-calling duties to Klint Kubiak

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett is turning over offensive play-calling duties to assistant Klint Kubiak on Sunday, ESPN reported.

The Broncos (3-6) enter Sunday’s contest against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders (2-7) ranked last in the NFL with 14.6 points per game.

Kubiak, the team’s quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, called the plays for the offense this week in practice, per the report.

It is not clear whether Kubiak, 35, will handle the duties for the remainder of the season. The Broncos are in their first season under Hackett.

Kubiak, whose father is former Houston Texans and Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, was the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator last season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) is checked by trainers after getting injured in the first quarter at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy exits with ankle injury

Denver Broncos wideout Jerry Jeudy sustained a left ankle injury Sunday and was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

He was hurt on Denver’s first snap of the game when quarterback Russell Wilson’s pass intended for Jeudy fell incomplete.

Jeudy, 23, was taken to the locker room on a cart and was ruled out in the second quarter.

Jeudy, a 2020 first-round pick by the Broncos, has 30 receptions for 449 yards and three touchdowns this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Russell Wilson needs tests on hurting hamstring

Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter of Denver’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night.

Wilson completed 15 of 28 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos (2-4) scheduled an MRI to detect the severity of his injury as part of the team’s post-mortem Tuesday.

“I kind of scrambled to move around on one, I had to throw it away, it kind of got me pretty good in the fourth quarter,” Wilson said. “Just tried to play through it … just trying to find a way to win the game.”

Denver has a short week to prepare for the New York Jets (4-2), who muffled the Packers in Week 6. The Broncos operate a rough derivative of that system under former Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Denver’s first-year head coach.

The Broncos failed to hit 17 points on the scoreboard for the fifth time in six games in the 19-16 overtime loss to the Chargers and Wilson completed only three passes for 15 yards in the second half.

He came out of the Week 4 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders (Oct. 2) with a muscle tear in his right shoulder.

“Shoulder did good, but listen, the only thing that matters is us winning,” Wilson said. “Not going to sugarcoat it, the only thing matters is us winning.”

Wilson said “we don’t have division in our locker room” when asked how the Broncos can stick together during the difficult stretch.

The Broncos parted with multiple draft picks to pry Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks and signed him to a five-year, $245 million contract extension. In addition to quarterback Drew Lock and tight end Noah Fant, Denver traded two first-round picks and two second-round picks for Wilson.

After a second overtime loss in as many weeks, Wilson said he felt like the Broncos should’ve won both games.

“We’ve got to find ways to make plays,” he said. “We’ve got to find ways to get touchdowns.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Broncos QB Russell Wilson has shoulder procedure

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson underwent a procedure to relieve discomfort in his throwing shoulder, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Wilson reportedly received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Friday in Los Angeles, one day after the Broncos dropped a 12-9 overtime decision against the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

Wilson completed 21 of 39 passes for 274 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions against the Colts, and the Broncos are 2-3 since signing the longtime Seattle Seahawks star to a $245 million contract extension.

Wilson showed up on the injury report last Tuesday with a right shoulder injury, with coach Nathaniel Hackett saying the nine-time Pro Bowl selection was “dinged up” after Denver’s Week 4 loss at Las Vegas.

According to Saturday’s report from NFL Network, the 33-year-old Wilson is dealing with a strained latissimus dorsi muscle, an injury more common to baseball players.

Wilson has completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,254 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in five games. His worst completion percentage for a full season was 61.3 percent in 2017.

–Field Level Media