Sports

Is Russell Wilson the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year?

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He wasn’t expected to be the starter, and he sure as hell wasn’t expected to have the Seahawks in contention for the NFC West lead. Now to add to the miraculously improbable season Russell Wilson is having, he is working his way into offensive rookie of the year conversations. With all the hype surrounding Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III -- and their seasons only validating it -- it would be easy for the play of Russell Wilson to go unnoticed; it hasn’t,

One of the main reasons I feel Russell Wilson might be under appreciated by fans in other markets, could be his relatively average amount of passing yards. They never really leap off the screen, as he is averaging only 193 yards a game. There are a few things that have to be taken into account though, before judging Wilson on his average yardage through the air. Firstly, he doesn’t take unnecessary risks.

Clearly not buying into the high risk high reward mantra of young gunslingers that came before him, you will rarely see Wilson forcing balls into coverage. He takes his shots when they’re available, rather than risking a turnover. This train of thought probably hampers his yardage more than anything, as anybody who has seen him play will tell you he can make all the throws. But why risk it if the play isn’t there?

Another reason for less than stellar yardage has been coaching. Up until about week 12 ish, the Seahawks were asking very little of their rookie quarterback. This offense ran through Marshawn Lynch, and he was called on very rarely to lead the offense. Following increasing pressure from the media, fans etc. Darrell Bevell increased the responsibility placed on Wilson, and he responded admirably. In the games leading up to week 12 he was averaging 7.3 yards an attempt, since then it’s as high as 9.13. I wish I could also point to an attempts number that would be convincing of his increased role, but two of the games were absolute blowouts, with 50+ points. Throwing the ball became very unnecessary, very fast in those games and he also didn’t finish either of them. He also has one interception since his role increased, and only 9 on the season.

Now that I’ve given some sort of perspective on how Wilson’s numbers have gotten to the point they are at, hows about I actually state his case for offensive rookie of the year. His 9 interceptions are the second lowest among rookies who were starters for week one. Only RG3 has less at 4. His 21 touchdown passes are the highest for any rookie quarterback, and his touchdown to interception ratio of +12 is second to only RG3’s +14. He also boasts a passer rating of 95.5 which, once again puts him second to only Robert Griffin III’s 104.2. Other than yardage, I can’t even find one stat that justifies Andrew Luck getting more consideration for the offensive rookie of the year just doesn’t really make it sense.

Based on the stats, and fact that both Wilson and Griffin III’s team are in contention for a division title, you’d have to think it was a two horse race. That being said stats rarely tell the entire story, and his division makes up for four of the top eleven spots in total defense. Talk about stiff competition.

Something tells me, barring a complete meltdown by Robert Griffin III in these last two week’s or a meteoric rise by Russell Wilson the award will go to RG3. That’s not to say Russell Wilson doesn’t deserve due consideration for the award though. His stats, although not jaw dropping, speak to a highly efficient and cautious quarterback.

Unlike the first two picks in the draft, Wilson hasn’t had ridiculous amounts of hype to live up to, just expectations to shatter, and I think adding an offensive rookie of the year award, isn’t and definitely shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

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