Preparation, preparation, and even more preparation is the chosen method by which Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson goes about his business. By sticking so diligently to covering all possible bases, the nine-time Pro Bowler is making sure his own body and mind are in perfect harmony.
That being said, in the modern version of the NFL, no one man is an island — not even a former Super Bowl winner. Therefore, the top athletes tend to have a network of handpicked experts to help them achieve optimum performance levels.
Wilson is now at the forefront of a vanguard of players who are appreciative of having full-time support teams to help aid their careers, and it might just give him a crucial advantage.
“Having an amazing team, my performance team comes with me everywhere I go. My assistant helps with everything,” Wilson revealed last week. “Everybody’s super organized so there’s never wasted space, and I think that’s the key thing. There’s never wasted space.”
That particular theory has also shifted over into Wilson’s personal life, one where he appears to be constantly drinking from every available font of football knowledge. Wilson’s Jedi-like "bromance” with former Broncos legend Peyton Manning has really flourished since the duo moved closer to each other geographically, and it’s afforded them precious time to organically bond as friends over intensive film study sessions together.
Undoubtedly, it remains a looser setup, but it’s almost inevitable that at least some of Manning's football mind tricks have been transferring over to his franchise successor. Wilson’s thirst to keep on learning is clear, and it’s his insatiable desire to improve that’s led him to make long-time QB coach Jake Heaps his own, private in-house confidante.
A former Seahawks practice squad signal-caller, Heaps will now take up residence in Denver after previously working with Wilson in a personal capacity for the past five years in Seattle, where their friendship first took root in 2016.
QB coaches are now very much part and parcel of today’s game, but it wasn’t always that way. Often they were accused by some coaches of meddling in the finer details that were traditionally the sole bastion of team employees only. Nowadays, however, it’s the prevailing sentiment that even the smallest of improvements should be embraced, and Heaps feels he’s in a position to help, not hinder.
“He’s one of the best in the world,” Heaps said of Wilson last Friday, via USA TODAY. “So it’s not like you’re wholesale trying to change everything every year, it’s just trying to make him 1% better every year and find ways where he can be better and stay sharp and be on top of things.”
Some levels of confusion and fear might even still exist over the need to employ such whisperers on top of the regular position coaches. But, they are here to stay, and even the most skeptical of coaches will be eternally thankful if it makes that key 1% of the positive difference that Heaps insists it can.
“This organization has been fantastic from Day One with him and the guys have been fantastic,” Heaps said. “Obviously this is the honeymoon phase and everything is great, everything’s special, but I truly believe that they’ve got what it takes to really make some noise and accomplish the goals that they all have.”