Russell Wilson Thread (2017-)

If you guys have time or interest, I’d be interested in hearing your comments about the pass protection in all the sacks Wilson took in 2017:

To what extent do you think this is Wilson’s fault?

Some things that I think are important:

1. Look at the number of pass rushers. It seems to me that the vast majority have four rushers, some three or five. Almost none are all-out blitzes. Do you guys have the same impression?

2. Show me a defense that can consistently generate good pressure/hits/sacks with four pass rushers, and I’ll show you a dominant defense. The Seahawks turned every opponent into a dominant defense!

3. Obviously this doesn’t include instances when Wilson avoided a sack despite bad protection. I wouldn’t be surprised if these plays equal the number of sacks, if not exceed it.

4. The number of plays where the OL provides really good to really good pass protection is important. Let’s say out of 30 pass plays per game, on average, 20 are good to very good, five are so-so, and the other five are awful. That might not be so bad. If you give a QB consistently good pass protection, I think he can deal with the few instances of bad pass protection. Having said that, my guess is if we were to show the instances of good to really good pass protection that number would be really small in comparison to instances of bad, really bad pass pro.

55 thoughts on “Russell Wilson Thread (2017-)

  1. This is collection of all the drops by Jimmy Graham in 2017. I’m putting that here because there’s an incredible scramble and throw (at the :50 mark) by Wilson.* The catch wasn’t easy, but I think Graham should have held on. It ruined a great play by Wilson.

    (*Note to Mitchell. My original sentences: “This is collection of all the drops by Jimmy Graham in 2017. Why am I putting that here? I’m putting that here because…” I kind of like this version better.

    Revision to avoid using a question: “The following is a cut-up of all Jimmy Graham’s dropped passes in 2017, which I wouldn’t normally include in this thread, but am because of one incredible play by Wilson at the :50 mark.”)

  2. …although I would also suggest you not use “the following…” or “the above…” They’re almost always unnecessary.

  3. I’m not sure it’s less work. The first and third sentence took me the longest to compose. I don’t really care for the flow of the those sentences.

    And, yes, Yankees acquired the rights to Wilson.

  4. Holy moly. Russwell Wilson is the best QB throwing while running to his left. It’s amazing, defies physics, better than Jim Harbaugh’s rolling to the right and throwing off his back foot.

  5. I forgot the Seahawks were down 10-23 in the 4th, with about 9 minutes left.

    This was a great performance, but the one against Chicago, in Chicago, is the one that really got my attention. I remember having the improbable sensation–“This guy is reminding me of Montana!”

  6. 2018-2019: Week 10 vs. the Rams

    After the Charger loss the week before, I dialed me expectations way down for this game. I even saw, accidently, a tweet that strongly suggested the Seahawks lost the game.

    What was the most disconcerting was the way Wilson played on the last drive, which could have won the game. The 4th down play was especially dispiriting, as my initial reaction was to put the blame on Wilson. It might have been a difficult throw, but he’s got to make that–is what I thought. It’s a sucky feeling when you have to admit your favorite player didn’t play well, especially in a clutch moment.

    Here’s a take that casts that play in a different light:

    I admit, I’m happy to find an explanation that lets Wilson off the hook, at least a little. Ultimately, I think he still has to make this play, and he might deserve blame on the previous plays.

  7. This throw was crazy, but he’s had some other similar ones–like a 4th down deep ball that went for a TD. Also, last week he had a deep pass on 3rd and long in OT, with the Seahawks backed up near their end zone. (Unfortunately, a holding penalty negated that play.)

  8. I thought the TD pass he threw at the end was the better throw. Running to his left, throwing across his body into a space the receiver could get to but the defender couldn’t. I think the receiver made it a tougher catch than it should have been, but Wilson knew where his guy could get it.

    But yeah, this was a very pretty throw. That high arc!

    1. The situation was big, though. They were only up by 3 and it was 2 and 12. The coverage was also good; it couldn’t be that much better.

      As for the arc, Wilson was channeling Jeff Blake.

  9. Some say that Wilson is the best deep ball passer, and while I think that may be the case this season, the one that makes me hesitate is how he has a tendency to underthrow his passes. Of all the great deep passers of all time, I feel like he underthrows the ball more than any of them. I’m especially thinking of situations where the WR is wide open and has to slow their stride. To me, the greatest deep passers hit the WR so they don’t have to break their stride much.

    By the way, my theory is that Wilson does this because he wants to make sure he completes the pass. In other words, it’s sort of a conservative mindset, almost as if he’s afraid to overthrow the pass in those situations. In a way, the decision is sound, and if this reduces overthrows, then I’d be for it. Still, I feel like other great deep passing QBs don’t underthrow their WRs as much.

  10. What’s impressive about this is not just the quality of the blocks (some of them aren’t great, though), and willingness to block, but the hustle involved. And some of these blocks were crucial to helping the run.

  11. Just a small anecdote, I heard from Gee Scott (20:30 minute mark), a Seattle radio sports personality. He said he recently had lunch with Brandon Mebane, a DT who played for Seattle and now plays for the Chargers. According to Scott, Mebane sad that Phillip Rivers is a “bad boy”–in practice and in games–when things are going right. But there’s nobody better in the game, when things are going wrong, than Russell Wilson. It sounds like Mebane means when the team or Russ is not playing well or facing a bad circumstance, no one is better at dealing with this than Russ. If so, I tend to agree with this. In terms of the mental party of handling adversity, I seems really great at this, and maybe one of the best I’ve seen.

  12. In the first clip, one of the things that stands out is the degree of difficulty of the passes during really pressure-packed situations. 2nd and 12 may not seem that critical, but in the 4th versus KC, 3:00 minutes left with only a 3 point lead, that was huge. The pass had to be perfect. (Also, the WRs are making some difficult catches as well.)

    1. Hahahahha. I wonder if the coaches knew he lost contact. It would be funny if they kept sending in plays and seeing Wilson execute something entirely different.

      Also, maybe Aaron Rodgers could take a lesson from this. If he doesn’t like the play the coach sends in, he could call his own play and tell the coach his helmet stopped working.

    2. I would guess the coaches knew it wasn’t working, but it would be funny if they didn’t and kept giving him plays. (Schottenheimer: “Russ what the heck?”)

      Also, maybe Aaron Rodgers could take a lesson from this. If he doesn’t like the play the coach sends in, he could call his own play and tell the coach his helmet stopped working.

      I get the sense he does this, even with the headsets working.

  13. The Seahawks beat the Vikings. Wilson didn’t have a really noteworthy game, but the Seahawks ran for 43 times for 200+ yards. I love what Russ said:

    Quarterback Russell Wilson said the number of runs was in part because of the way the Vikings decided to play defense.

    “ They kept playing two-high shell super deep,” Wilson said. “They didn’t want any shots thrown on them. So we just said, ‘OK, we’ll run it. We’ll do what we do really well.’ “

    This is such a great attitude for a QB to have–especially one who has the ability to be more than a game-manager. I love, love, love this. I could care less about if he didn’t have gaudy stats. I got the sense the Vikings were giving the Seahawks the run, and I wanted the latter to keeping pounding the ball. Do you think Rodgers would ever do this? I doubt it–and that’s a significant weakness in my opinion. (Brady would, especially now.)

  14. Most disrespected QB of all time

    Off the top of my head, I’d say Russell Wilson. Colin Cowherd went on a rant today about this because Pro Football Focus ranked Wilson as the 33rd best player of the decade. Here’s the list:

    1. Tom Brady
    2. Aaron Donald
    3. Drew Brees
    4. Richard Sherman
    5. Rob Gronkowski
    6. Aaron Rodgers
    7. Von Miller
    8. Julio Jones
    9. JJ Watt
    10. Luke Kuechly
    11. Joe Thomas
    12. Chris Harris
    13. Antonio Brown
    14. Evan Mathis
    15. Eric Weddle
    16. Calvin Johnson
    17. Khalil Mack
    18. Peyton Manning
    19. Jason Peters
    20. Earl Thomas
    21. Andrew Whitworth
    22. Harrison Smith
    23. Darrelle Revis
    24. Casey Hayward
    25. Marshal Yanda
    26. Devin McCourty
    27. Joe Staley
    28. Patrick Willis
    29. Marshawn Lynch
    30. DeAndre Hopkins
    31. Geno Atkins
    32. Matt Ryan
    33. Russell Wilson

    (I think Rodgers is too low, too–switch him with Sherm. I might put Rodgers over Brees, too. Chris Harris, Harrison Smith, Casey Hayward also seem a bit high. I’d choose Russ over them.)

    1. PFF isn’t about traditional “stats” and definite they don’t look at it like in the past, but PFF is all about production. We just talked about Seattle running the ball a lot and Wilson not always putting up stats or not having great production. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    2. You’re saying you’re not surprised given the criteria PFF would use? But do you agree with the ranking? If they’re saying they believe Wilson is the #33 best player of the decade, based on their method, I would question their method.

      1. What if the list is he is the 33rd most productive player in the decade? Would that be okay to say?

    3. They seem to be equating “best” with productivity as measured via statistics. I don’t agree with that. Do you agree with that definition? And do you agree that Wilson is the 33rd best player of the decade? To me, I question the definition, the basis for evaluating and ranking the best players.

  15. You right maybe they shouldn’t use the word “best” in their description. But when I looked it up, it says “this list isn’t an evaluation of talent, but rather of production, efficiency and performance”. PFF is a sabermetric sight, so I assume it is based on production. I remember looking into PFF rankings on o-linemen, and the top rushing o-linemen played on the most productive rushing teams. But just because for example a Shanahan team runs the ball well, doesn’t mean they always have the best o-linemen. They could just be in good system. That’s what I mean when I say it’s based on production (and efficiency), not necessarily who’s the best.

  16. But just because for example a Shanahan team runs the ball well, doesn’t mean they always have the best o-linemen. They could just be in good system. That’s what I mean when I say it’s based on production (and efficiency), not necessarily who’s the best.

    Understood, but they describe their list as “the 101 best players from the entire decade of NFL play.” They seem to be equating most productive with best. That’s not unreasonable or surprising as I think most people think the same way. In any event, if you ranked players based on productivity, what else would this ranking mean other than a ranking of who is better or best? It seems odd to say Tom Brady is the most productive player of the decade, but he’s really not the best.

    I think if they ranked offenses and defenses, based on stats, that would be more appropriate–more appropriate than ranking individual players based on stats. As you say, the system could be a major reason for better productivity. Clearly, the quality of the supporting cast is going to affect productivity as well, as does the quality of the opponents. All of these factors can have a distort our understanding of how good a player actually is. To me, the only way one could reduce this distortion is by using the eye-test. Of course, the eye test has problems of its own as well, but it’s critical if you want to get to how good individual players are. Relying only on stats to determine the quality of a player is not a good approach in my view.

    1. So for more context, I’m pretty sure PFF’s process incorporates the “eye-test”. I think they watch each play and give the player a + or – grade per play with a scale added, for example one play could be a +2 if it’s a super play. That is super subjective, which some will argue. But from what I think anyway, if a QB throws a screen pass and it goes for 60 yards, or if a QB actually throws a 60 yard pass, PFF will “grade” those plays differently. In fact, I think a QB that throws a 60 yard screen pass could have a negative grade, if let’s say the pass wasn’t great, and it was tipped, and got to the RB anyway, and the RB made a great play to get 60.

    2. In fact, I think a QB that throws a 60 yard screen pass could have a negative grade, if let’s say the pass wasn’t great, and it was tipped, and got to the RB anyway, and the RB made a great play to get 60.

      OK, but then the list is no longer just about productivity. They’re analyzing the skills of the players. And they’re saying Wilson is the 33 on this list? That seems crazy to me.

      1. Yeah I’m not sure how much productivity counts over efficiency or vice-versa, but if Wilson is handing the ball off thirty times a game, for each of those plays, I’m guessing Wilson is not getting a grade. How can he get a great overall grade if good portions of the time, he’s not getting measured at all.

        I also wouldn’t say Wilson is super efficient either. He’s not putting up Brees’ completion numbers. He’s not always great on third down either, which I believe can have a heavier weight.

    3. How can he get a great overall grade if good portions of the time, he’s not getting measured at all.

      If they’re using the eye-test as well (i.e,. not just rely on quantifiable data), then this is something they should factor in. For example, a QB shouldn’t be penalize for this, or if their stats, in terms of volume, is lower.

      I also wouldn’t say Wilson is super efficient either.

      I didn’t look the stats up, but I believe Wilson’s efficiency numbers are strong.

      He’s not putting up Brees’ completion numbers. He’s not always great on third down either, which I believe can have a heavier weight.

      First, if the argument is that Brees is better than Wilson, that’s a very reasonable argument, and I have no problem with it. I have a hard time believing Wilson is 33rd, though. Second, are you saying Brees is better because he has a better completion and third down percentage? If so, I think that’s a problematic argument–precisely for reasons I mentioned earlier. Who had the better OL, pass-catchers, run game, and offensive coaching/system over the course of their career? Besides run game, I would say Brees had it better, in some cases much better, than Wilson. In terms of OL, I contend that, of the great QBs, Wilson had the worst OL over the course of his career. His pass-catchers would not be at the top of the class, relative to these other QBs. His head coach, in terms of offense, and his OCs have been not much more than competent. To conclude that a player is better than another just by the stats seems wrong to me.

      1. I probably wasn’t clear, but I wouldn’t have Wilson 33rd, but was merely pointing out based on how PFF ranks players they could.

        Whatever the case, this is how I sort of think PFF ranks players. So their best 10 evaluators (or whatever the number is), look at every player on every play. They will give them a score of plus, zero, or minus on each play. And that plus or minus will be on a scale so not all good or bad plays are equal. A good play could be a +1, whereas a great play could be a +2. That’s where the eye-test comes in. So in comparing Wilson to Brees lets say, if Seattle runs the ball 30 times, in all those plays Wilson will get a zero score, since he did nothing on that play. Whereas if Brees might only hand off the ball 15 times, he will have more chances to get pluses. That’s where production comes in and how Seattle’s style of offense affects Wilson’s overall grade. Then what I think happens is all the QBs are ranked against other QBs and all the o-linemen will be ranked against other o-linemen and so on. Then based on the differences between guys in their own position, PFF will rank everyone. So if Yanda has a 15% difference between him and the guy ranked five below him, but Wilson has a 5% difference, then Yanda would be ranked higher than Wilson when ranking all positions.

        I thought Wilson didn’t have a great third down conversion rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I thought, which is why I thought his efficiency may not be has high as others. Because as I said, I think when a great play happens matters in the grading too, or at least that’s my take on PFF rankings.

        What you said about comparing Wilson and Brees is sort of the same point I made about PFF’s ranking of o-linemen. The production of the team overall or the teams overall success, will skew the rankings, even if they are using the eye-test to rank players per play. But maybe that’s why PFF has the caveat of ranking players based on production and efficiency over ranking guys just based on talent.

        If drafting players from the list you provided, Wilson would probably be in my top five. Yet that wouldn’t be a super fair way to rank guys either, since my top five guys could be QBs.

  17. I probably wasn’t clear, but I wouldn’t have Wilson 33rd, but was merely pointing out based on how PFF ranks players they could.

    OK, got it. To me, the more compelling explanation for Wilson’s ranking is that the ranking is based heavily on volume of the stats. I would guess Troy Aikman wouldn’t do so well in rankings if volume of the stats were critical.

    I thought Wilson didn’t have a great third down conversion rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I thought, which is why I thought his efficiency may not be has high as others.

    The Seahawks 3rd down conversion rate, since Wilson has been there, may not be that high, but I can’t remember. But in terms of yards per pass, TDs per throw, etc., I think he’s kinda good. But again, I’m not sure. From what I understand, Wilson comes out looking good if you look at efficiency, but not as great if you focus on volume.

    If a handful of guy are rating every play for every player, and accounting for things like the nature of their system, teammates, opponents, coaching, etc., and Wilson still ends up 33rd, you would question their judgment, right?

    Now, I know you mentioned that each player would be evaluated in relation to other players in their position. Then, the degree to which they are better than other players in their position would largely determine play a big role in determining their overall ranking. Is that right?

    I’m not entirely clear on the way the degree to which they’re better from other players at their position. It also doesn’t sound like a great way to evaluate the players overall. By this thinking, this would suggest the gap between Bray and the rest of the QBs is quite large. But that doesn’t right–i.e., I don’t think the gap is that large between Brady, Rodgers, and Brees. By this logic, if Adam Vinateri was significantly better than other kickers, he could be in the top five.

    What you said about comparing Wilson and Brees is sort of the same point I made about PFF’s ranking of o-linemen.

    Yes, that’s what I said–except I’m also factoring in the quality of the supporting cast, quality of opponents, quality of coaching/play calling, etc.

    To me, if there are a handful of people evaluating every play for every player–all these things should be factored in. Andy Dalton had a really good year in 2015, but he had a very strong supporting cast. As the Bengals lost good players, Dalton looked like a very different player. Why do I think so highly of Wilson? A big reason is because of the OL he has had. There are times when he the pass-catchers were not very good. (2014 Super Bowl team might be one of the worst pass-catching units of any Super Bowl team.) There are some people that are really down on Rodgers, but, he, too, has not had great WRs. My estimation of Matt Ryan shot up, when his OL became more brittle, and I saw how he would hang in there and throw under duress. Another big factor for me is the QB’s performance in big moments, especially in the playoffs. Jimmy G missing Sanders for the deep throw, as well as missing one or two other 3rd down conversions in the 4th–those are huge negatives, especially if there are a bunch of these. Eli Manning’s 3rd and forever throw down the sidelines to Mario Manningham–unbelievable throw, at the most pressure-packed moment. Huge points for that, especially if a QB could do that regularly.

    If the PFF guys aren’t making similar sort of calibrations, I think that’s not good process. You have to factor these things in.

    By the way, did you read the write-up for Wilson?

    Somehow, Russell Wilson has never earned an MVP vote since he has been in the league, and yet few quarterbacks have achieved more with as many things working against them (at least on the offensive side of the ball). Only Patrick Mahomes has a higher big-time throw rate than Wilson over the past decade, and obviously, Mahomes has only had to do it for a little over two seasons. Wilson has an incredible ability to make big plays without having a high rate of errors to offset those, and he brings a threat with his legs that few other quarterbacks have. He has been one of the most valuable players in the game over any span of time and one of the best quarterbacks in football. (emphasis added)

    This makes their ranking even stranger to me.

    Also, did you think Chris Harris Jr should be ranked 12th best player of the decade? That’s the second CB, next to Sherm. I don’t watch him closely, and I don’t think I could competently evaluate him. But if he’s 12th best player, the second CB taken of the 2010s, I’m guessing he’s a HoF candidate. He was higher than Earl Thomas. I could be totally wrong, but I don’t see that.

  18. (Also, see some of the initial responses in the thread that follows.)

    The MVP argument is weak to me, but the argument that a QB has to be at least the best in one season (or arguably the best) seems more compelling to me. What do you guys think? And do you think you can say that about Wilson?

    To be honest, I think I might have a hard time doing that. I’ll try to explain why I say that, but first let me provide a defense for Wilson–something that I didn’t see in the thread above–namely, factoring in the supporting cast, especially the OL, and the offensive system. Those are two strikes against Wilson, especially in terms of stats, and they should be mitigating factors. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Manning–Mahomes or Jackson–the OLs, for the totality of their careers, have been way better than Wilsons. Most of them played with good-to-great OCs running systems that favor passing. Shouldn’t this be mitigating factors–factors that could actually strengthen the argument for Wilson’s greatness, especially since his efficiency stats are really good?

    What’s weird is that in spite of saying this, I don’t think there are a lot of times when I could have said Wilson was definitely the best QB in the league–maybe top three, yes, and if that counts then he would pass the test. However, if I ask myself if I would put Wilson in the same class as Brady, Rodgers, Brees, and Manning, I would hesitate. And yet, if you told me, all things being equal, which QB would I want to start–I think I’d take Wilson or it would be a hard decision.

    I think the situation might be similar to Troy Aikman. I would hesitate to put him in the same class as Marino, Elway, or Montana. But why? Marino’s talent may be superior, maybe Montana played better in pressure situations (?)…I don’t know. I’m a bit uncertain.

    I need to think more about this.

  19. 2020 Week 1

    31-35 (Two drops by Metcalf, one definitely should have been caught)

    This is the third 4th down play where Russell went deep. This is a situation where Bruce Arians would say, “No risk it, no bisquit.” I don’t know if it’s always wise, but definitely gutty.


    The blocking may not be great, but it’s good–might be the best blocking Wilson has had. Run-blocking is solid, too–very little penetration by the defense. I think the Seahawk offense will be really if the OL can maintain this level of blocking.

  20. 2020 Week 2

    Russ had a good night. I’ll post some clips later. For a long time, I’ve believed that if Russ has good pockets and pass-catchers get open in a timely manner, he will shred defenses. That’s based on what I’ve seen and these two games are just more support of that.

    I’m not big on stats, but some stats do seem to support his greatness, especially in terms of efficiency. For those who put a lot of stock into TD passes (which I kinda don’t):



    Again, this seems like real solid blocking (although I didn’t watch the second and third videos). However, in terms of talent, the Patriots DL doesn’t seem all that great. I feel like they’re in a similar ballpark as the Seattle DL, to be honest.

    1. Are there any good to great QBs that would not shred defenses with a good pocket and pass-catchers that get open? For example, I’m having doubts, but I think Wentz is a top five if not top ten QB. Do you think it’s possible that he will not shred defenses with a good pocket and pass-catchers that get open? And why if do not think he would, why do you think he wouldn’t?

    2. Are there any good to great QBs that would not shred defenses with a good pocket and pass-catchers that get open?

      I think any of these QBs would be do well. Think of Andy Dalton in 2015. But suppose Wilson or Rodgers played on that team. I don’t think the results would the same. For one thing, in terms of making big moments, while protecting the ball, particularly when a play breaks down, I don’t think Dalton would be as effective as Russ or Rodgers. I think that’s one of the differences.

      Do you think it’s possible that he will not shred defenses with a good pocket and pass-catchers that get open? And why if do not think he would, why do you think he wouldn’t?

      I felt confident he’d do well with a strong supporting cast. I know some were critical of Wentz last year, but the pass-catchers, at many different points in the season, were awful. Based on what I saw of him, I thought the problem was mainly the supporting cast.

      But I must say that the way Wentz has played this year has given me pause. Here’s what could be happening: Wentz might have developed bad habits and/or lost confidence. On the other hand, I thought the Eagles (Pederson or the OC) were over-passing, even though it seemed like the Rams were daring them to run.

      I think some QBs can be “ruined” if they play with a weak supporting cast for too long and/or a bad coach. I think Darnold might be an example, although given that he was turnover-prone in college, maybe he wouldn’t be good even with a better supporting cast. So if Wentz doesn’t do well, some of these reasons could explain it.

  21. 2020-2021 Week 3 vs. the Cowboys

    Cut up of the blocking (more than one tweet):

    Looking at this, I have a negative impression of the offense–not just the pass-first nature of it, but the plays and play calling. I could be just missing subtle aspects, but the plays seem to lack variety. There’s not curve balls, like trick plays or constraint plays. At one point, I think the offense got too predictable (passing), too.

  22. 2020: Week 5

    Russ makes this look easy and has done this so often, I really think people haven’t recognized how bad the OL has often been in his career. (Note: This year the OL has been solid–not great, but maybe the best he’s ever had.)

  23. Worst I’ve seen Russell Wilson in his career

    Not tonight–against the Cardinals. Tonight he looked like the Russ of old. But the three games prior to this–against the Rams, Bills, and Cardinals (He played fine against the depleted 49ers in between the Cardinals and Bills.)–it was the worst I’ve seen from him, particularly in terms of ball security. The offense was too one-dimensional and predictable, and Russ looked like a young QB who looked like he was doing too much. I remember early in Newton’s career, I believe Rivera had to talk to him, telling him it’s OK to punt. Let the defense and other aspects of the team help win games. I feel like Russ wasn’t thinking that way. Reporters asked him if he wanted to win the MVP earlier in the year, and his answers were a bit diplomatic, suggesting he really did want to win it. When I watched him play, in light of those comments, I can’t help but feel his ambition to get the MVP was causing him to force things–becoming too tunnel visioned.

    Thankfully, he wasn’t that way tonight, and they ended up winning. (The run game was a factor, and that was a big part of why they won. I hope it can continue to be a factor going forward.)


    What Orlofsky says here resonates with me. It’s possible that Russ is not going for the MVP so much as he feels he has to go above and beyond for them to win.

    On the other hand, my sense is that in the pre-season, they knew they were going to shift to a more pass-based team. (Lewis and Shell were more known for the pass-blocking, I think.) Russ was pushing to get AB. It’s possible Russ pushed Carroll to build the offense around him, and Russ went for that, maybe getting carried away. Whether it’s exuberance over this shift, a desire to win the MVP, or a feeling he has to carry the team–it felt like he was trying to do too much. (And it didn’t feel like that–not as much–in tonight’s game–although I still they were more of pass-based team. Maybe it didn’t feel like this because the run game was more of a factor–plus, Russ didn’t have huge numbers.)

    1. After listening to a long interview with Russ, I feel like he was a big part of the offense’s problem–specifically, his mindset, maybe his ambition and ego. With regard to the latter, I’m referring to his desire to be great, which is linked heavily towards stats–i.e., he said he’s shooting for the TD passing record.

      I don’t have hard evidence, but I’ve listened to Russ speak over the years. This something was different. I don’t have the energy to break down his comments, but in general, his mindset is he wants to pass, he wants the offense to score. There’s a desire that seems closely linked to impatience–which includes impatience for running. I feel like unless he plays in a Bills or Chiefs style offense, he’s going to be unhappy. This is actually the typical thing that happens to QBs. It’s really unusual for a really good QB not to have this mindset. Usually, Father Time has to humble such a QB before they accept a more modest approach (read: a more run-based offense). It’s not unusual, but it’s still disappointing. Russ was not like this in the past. That he only seemed to care about championships was too good to be true or too good to last.

      1. I’m seeing reports that the new OC, Shane Waldron, the Rams passing coordinator, was Wilson’s top pick. I gotta say–this news, plus Wilson’s comments in the press conference above are kind of a big turn off to me. I don’t listen to other QB’s press conferences, particularly when the team is hiring a new OC, but Wilson seem unusually forward about wanting a role in choosing the new OC. One could argue the candor is refreshing, but I don’t really see it that way. His comments underscore his special status on the team–making it more explicit and public. I wonder how his teammates feel; I would understand if some felt greater resentment. It’s kinda the way he talked about being involved in the process–e.g., referencing the importance OC to his career. Well, it’s important to all the other players, too–at least the offensive players. With the news that Walrdon was Wilson’s top pick, and the previous comments, Wilson comes across as a bit of a prima donna. And that’s not the way the image he has created for himself in previous years.

        You guys know how much I like Wilson. But this is the way it looks to me, and it’s a turn off. I’m not happy about this, either. It’s a bummer, really.

        (On a side note, a part of me feels like Carroll is OK with this–as long as the offense protects the football. If that happens, I almost get the sense Carroll doesn’t care if the offense doesn’t function all that well. The thinking is typical defensive mindset: as long as the offense protects the football, my defense and ST will win the game. I hope Carroll’s not thinking this way.)

    2. Quote from the article:

      “The thing for us, we had such an electric, amazing start at the beginning of the year. We were able to do everything. We went for it every game, every play, every possession. We hit some bumps in the road. I could have played better. I should have played better. I can do my part too, obviously, as well. I think what happened was we had several guys go down up front. We didn’t have our starters, necessarily, and everything else.

      (emphasis added)

      When Wilson says “do everything on offense” and being “adamant” about an OC who could who could bring “a mixture of all the different things that we can do,’ I think this is code for more creative and varied passing and playing more uptempo. This is speculative on my part, but I got the same vibe in his last press conference of the season. What stood out for me is how often he mentioned passing and how little he mentioned running. “Do everything” can mean being good at many types of running and passing, but I don’t think that’s what Wilson really means. He seems really locked into passing.

      “Also, as our defense kept continuing to play better, that’s the time for us to really take off and keep going and keep preparing at the highest level. That’s something we really wanted to be able to do throughout the rest of the season. Unfortunately we didn’t go for it as much, I don’t think. I think we got a little bit passive. We’ve got to make sure that never happens again. We’ve got to make sure that we do everything we can to be playing this Sunday. That’s what it takes. We’ve got great players, we’ve got our best players, we’ve got to let it go, go for it and everything else.

      (emphasis added)

      This almost feels like a shot at Carroll. My impression of Wilson’s state of mind is that he wants to play in a Chip Kelly or Mike Martz offense. Ugh.

      I think Carroll has shown way significant openess to building the offense around the passing game, but I think Wilson’s mindset is a bridge too far for Carroll. If I’m right, this does not bode well for their relationship. I can see a divorce on the horizon.

    3. I read an article with excerpts from the interview below. Maybe Russ’s comments is still bad, but for some reason, listening and watching the interview didn’t seem as bad as the impression I got from the ESPN article.

      I forgot about this:

      This makes it worse, but I haven’t heard/seen the clip of these comments. Man, he’s never said stuff like this publicly. It does seem like he’s becoming too self-centered.

  24. 2021 Season (after the second week)

    There was a dust-up in the off season between Russ and the organization. Based on the way Russ played in 2020 and the comments, both during and after the season, I got the impression that Russ wanted the offense and maybe even the team philosophy to radically change. In short, he wanted the Seahawks to become like the Bills or Chiefs. (To me, the things that came out of his camp, if they accurately represented his feelings, could have gotten the head coach fired.)

    But heading in the 2021 season, everything seemed fine–or at least that’s what Carroll, Russ, and the new OC presented. Comments about the new offense suggested how this could happen–specifically, the emphasis on playing uptempo and having a balanced attack. The former would be something that would appease Russ (It’s something he seemed to be pining for for several years.), and the later would satisfy Carroll.

    I’m not a fan of uptempo offenses, but I can live with an offense that varies the tempo–that is, occasionally speeds it up–especially if the offense has a balanced attack. So I was optimistic heading into the season.

    But in the first two games, the offense looks similar to the 2020 offense. Passing seems more important. I get the vibe that the Seahawks (Russ) doesn’t really want to run the ball much. It’s the kind of vibe I got from Rodgers, and many other good QBs who reach the peak of their powers.
    The Hawks are putting up points, but they suck at ball control–specifically, extending drives and chewing up the clock. In the Titans game. the Titans game, their run game got going–and the Titans had the ball much more than the Seahawks. It was torturous to watch the game.

    I’m starting to dread watching their games now, as I’m expecting a similar pattern.

    My sense is that Russ is the source of this problem. He might be fixated on scoring, especially the home run ball, neglecting the run game and shorter passes. Maybe he thinks offense is about scoring. Whatever the case, I don’t think Carroll or Waldron, the new OC can do much.

    A part of me feels the best course is to let Russ get this out of the system–let him play this way. But if this is the case, then the Hawks probably should have radically altered their roster, devoting way more resources to the offense. Maybe even moving on from Carroll and hiring a more offensive-minded coach. The situation now feels more like the Packers, especially under McCarthy, where they devoted a lot of resources to the defense, but they’re more of a pass-oriented team, controlled by Rodgers. (LaFleur seemed to try and change that, and they’ve had some success, but it still seems like a battle for a more balanced attack and a more pass heavy one.)

    Anyway, I’m pretty bummed about the way Russ’s approach right now. (Note: The problem could be with the OC, but that’s not what it seems like.)

  25. (Note: In 2022-2023, the Seahawks traded Wilson to the Broncos. Wilson had his worst season. The Broncos offense was terrible. Nathaniel Hackett, the first year head coach, was fired. Recently, the Broncos hired Sean Payton.)

    Don asked the several questions about Russell Wilson in another thread, and I’m going to answer them here.

    One, Wilson is still a lock as a Hall-of-Famer you think? What if he gets benched and never really plays again or worse has two more years like he did this year?

    In this scenario, I do feel like this would jeopardize him from getting into the HoF. And let’s suppose he never returns to his level of play in Seattle. I think people will have doubts about whether his performance with the Seahawks was real–whether other factors explain it (e.g., Pete Carroll’s system–which seems remarkable, because I don’t think Pete is a great offensive coach or necessarily great developer of QBs. He’s great with handling player psychology and confidence, though.).

    The second question is do you think Sean Payton will have a positive affect on Wilson? And will Wilson put up better stats than he ever has?

    My answer depends on which Wilson we emerge–the pre-2020 Wilson or the post-2019 Wilson. Here, I’m mostly thinking of his mindset. Post-2019, my feeling was that he became too self-centered–to concerned about personal accolades (e.g., winning the MVP, throwing a lot of yards and TDs, etc.). (I also heard the Broncos gave Russ special privileges, which was a bad sign in my view.)

    Let’s suppose Wilson gets his mindset right, that he more or less returns to the pre-2020 Wilson–and I would tend to think there’s a good chance for this, otherwise Sean Payton wouldn’t have taken this job. (Or does he love the owner and organization so much that he doesn’t care if he has to move on from Wilson?) I think the answer to your questions are yes and yes. Before 2020, I always thought that if Wilson played for Payton in New Orleans or Andy Reid in KC, he’d have a lot of success and put up big numbers–as good as Brees and Mahomes. So if Wilson gets his mind right, and I think Payton is a coach who could do–partly because he’s the type of coach Wilson would respect and would be willing to defer to–and he can have an OL similar to the one Brees had, I would predict Wilson having a lot of success and putting up big numbers (assuming the receiving corps is solid).

    (I don’t think the Broncos have a lot of draft capital, so unless they already have the pieces for a great OL, building one might be too difficult.)

  26. Maybe not now, but there was a time that it would be crazy to say Wilson wouldn’t be a HoF. He dd seem like a lock, but I agree, they is a path, where he could “lose” that gold jacket.

    Sean Payton is widely regarded as a top five (?) offensive mind. However, maybe Wilson needs to be “protected” by a run-first offense. And if that’s the case, Payton will not be his ideal coach. I think the other thing, is Payton has enough cachet to bench Wilson. I believe an early benching (ie: after 3-4 games) could protect Wilson’s HoF status, but obviously that not succeeding under Payton, which was my second question.

  27. I really don’t think Wilson, at his peak (sometime before 2020), could only flourish in a run-first offense–I don’t think he needed to be protected by a run game, as you say (and there are Seahawk fans who believe this). Give him the type of OL that Brees had–which was especially stout in the interior, an OL that can really anchor the bottom of the pocket, consistently giving Wilson a lot of space, and I think, Wilson could thrive in a pass-first offense–with a good OC like Payton or Andy Reid.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Denver’s OL is of that caliber, and they don’t have a lot of draft capital. From Fangio and Hackett, the offense seemed built around the run game as well. This next year could be a transition year, where they play a more run-oriented style.

    But will Wilson accept this? His mindset is the key issue for me. If he just goes back to prioritizing winning and not caring about throwing a lot, I think he’ll find success. Give him a good OL with Payton, and I think he’ll start putting up more impressive numbers. This would be my prediction.

    1. I am no admirer of Payton — he got off too easy on bountygate — but he seems to be pretty good at getting the most out of the men on the field. As I have reminded a few people, the hated Broncos still have Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, and I still like both their young tight ends, whatever their names are. There’s been talk of Payton going after Taysom Hill, too, and I’m fairly sure Hill could be gotten pretty cheaply, and this intrigues me.

      So Payton isn’t walking into a situation of Wilson and that’s it. He’s got a few things to work with, and I feel like that could be a real start.

      There is a chance Wilson doesn’t make it into the hall, but I think it’s slim. The voters know more about football than I do, and they saw what he did. I couldn’t stand him and I grudgingly came to respect him because he was that good.

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