Broncos coach Hackett, teammates come to QB Wilson’s defence

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This has not been the season anyone envisioned for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos and that has led to reports that the veteran quarterback has lost some members of the locker room.

Not true according to head coach Nathaniel Hackett and several teammates.

The Broncos were expected to be a Super Bowl contender after the offseason acquisition of Wilson, but they are last in the AFC West at 3-8 and have been hit hard by injuries.

"To me, it's all gossip. I know this locker room - we have a fantastic locker room," Hackett said.

"When you look at a guy like Russ, he's unbelievable. I've never seen somebody work that hard. I've never seen somebody try to embrace a team like he has."

Wilson has just eight touchdown passes and five interceptions in 10 starts while completing 58.9 per cent of his passes, by far the worst mark of his career. He has also been sacked a career-high 56 times behind a patchwork offensive line.

Safety Justin Simmons reacted to a report on an NFL Network podcast that Wilson had lost part of the locker room.

"I'll say this: I'll say Russ is an amazing leader," Simmons said. "He's an amazing teammate and ... I know it's a quarterback-driven league, but leadership never falls under one guy."

Simmons said there is plenty of blame to go around for the Broncos' season, but he was stumped by the latest barb directed at Wilson.

"I don't know where that report would have come from and quite honestly... I would just like to keep the questions geared toward Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens," Simmons said.

Guard Dalton Risner also dismissed the report, when he said: "That's just hilarious in my opinion. That's funny. Because I don't think it's true. I know it's not true. I know that I know who Russell is. I respect him so much. I respect the way he integrates within our locker room.

"And I feel all year he hasn't been able to catch a break. I feel like all year people are just making up rumours about him, whether that be he's not a good teammate or he's lost the locker room, apparently, or whatever the heck it is. A lot of it is just so outlandish to me because I get to see him work every day."

Wilson was asked if he sensed any teammates had an issue with him.

"No. I think that first of all, everybody wants to win," he said. "I've got great relationships in that locker room. So, whoever is trying to tear it down, you can't.

"The best thing about it is it's been an amazing journey coming here, moving here, being here. … It's a blessing to be on this team and I’m honoured to be a part of this."

The Broncos' dismal season took another turn early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers when Wilson and defensive tackle Mike Purcell had a brief sideline blowup.

Purcell referred to the exchange as "just frustration" after the game, while Wilson said, "Mike and I are on the same page."