Russell Wilson has been dealing with criticism his entire football career, and that doesn’t seem to be changing now that he’s gone against all odds to take the helm in Seattle.
As far as I’m concerned, a generously listed 5’11 quarterback, drafted in the third round, that managed to not only win the starting job in training camp but lead his team to victories over the likes of the Patriots, Packers*(I really hope no explanation is needed for that asterisk), Cowboys, and Panthers has nothing left to prove.
There just so happens to be a growing group that seems to think otherwise, though, possibly a by-product of having a once highly-touted and well compensated QB riding the pine. Oh, how very wrong they are. Wilson is young, he is inexperienced and he is short, but he is not the problem with Seattle’s anemic pass attack, and Matt Flynn surely isn’t the solution.
Wilson is listed as the 18th most sacked quarterback in the league, a stat that might have you believe he has a half decent offensive line, but as the classic proverb that seems to work its way into all sports goes, the stats aren’t telling the whole story.
To make matters worse for him, even if he is given time in the pocket his spare-part and cast off receiving corps give him very little in the way of options, leaving him to call his own number a little too frequently for my liking. I mean.. I’m not trying to say Sidney Rice’s numbers with the Vikings were inflated or anything, or that he’s not a legitimate number one receiver... But clearly the problem here is he has nobody to throw the ball to, and with that not changing anytime soon people have to keep their expectations at a reasonable level. He is not going to put up elite numbers, not this season, and probably not next, but such is the plight of a young quarterback in a system that heavily favours the run.
Until Wilson is given some noteworthy targets on the outside, or even a tight-end a little more proficient in the receiving part of his game (sorry Miller, you’re a great blocker and all, really) expect the games to be tight. Expect low-scoring victories, on the backs of Lynch and Carroll’s unconventional but highly effective defense.
Still not convinced? Alright, let’s have an in-depth look at how he’s doing on paper. His passer rating of 82.4 puts him ahead of the suddenly human Michael Vick and Cam Newton, and has him ranked second among rookies. His completion percentage is third at 61.4, a not very flattering number, but all things considered none too shabby either. The most telling statistic though with regards to his play this season, is the paltry 210 pass attempts allowed by Pete Carroll. Kind of hard to put up dazzling numbers on that kind of a leash.
So my message to Seahawks fans everywhere? Cool it down, have faith, be patient, and watch him develop into a more than capable starter. The season is going well, your 4-4 and as far as I’m concerned a very legitimate threat to take a wildcard spot in the ultra competitive NFC. Besides, who doesn’t like a good underdog story?