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Broncos' Bolles ready for Wilson critics to 'eat crow' this season

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Denver Post / Getty

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles is confident that quarterback Russell Wilson will bounce back and prove doubters wrong in 2023.

"Just because a guy has one rough season, that doesn't dictate the type of guy he is," Bolles said of Wilson on Thursday, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. "I was angry with everything that came out. I take it very personal when people talk about him because nobody knows him like I do. When you put your heart on the line, and things go wrong, you look like the bad guy. He's not. He's a great dude. He works his butt off. I am ready for (the criticism) to go away, and when it does everyone is going to eat crow."

Wilson joined the Broncos last year as part of a blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks, who won a Super Bowl with him under center. The 34-year-old earned nine Pro Bowl berths while starting 158 regular season games for Seattle from 2012-21.

"I think Russ is phenomenal," Bolles added. " ... We knew who he was as a person. I have known him personally. I love him. He was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game (in) the last 10 years. Stats don't lie."

However, Wilson didn't meet the expectations in Year 1 with the Broncos, finishing 2022 with a 60.5% completion rate with 3,524 yards and a career single-season low 16 touchdown passes in 15 games. Denver - which finished last season 5-12 - signed him through the 2028 campaign with a five-year, $242.5-million contract extension last September.

Last season was Wilson's second straight year with 25 or fewer touchdown passes. He tossed 30-plus TDs each season from 2017-20, including an NFL-leading 34 in 2017.

Bolles - who appeared in only five contests in 2022 due to a broken leg - has started 82 games since Denver drafted him 20th overall in 2017. The 31-year-old is familiar with struggling quarterback play, as the Broncos have started nine different QBs over the last five seasons.

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