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NFL Draft

Russell Wilson Will Only Go As Far As Teammates Allow

  • The Draft Network
  • October 4, 2020
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It’s often said that the one thing in the way of someone’s success is themself. This can be the case for most stagnant NFL players, but Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been anything but dormant.

Wilson, who has consistently carried this team season after season, is an early favorite for the league’s MVP award and, when given control of the kitchen, is cooking at a historic pace. He continues to set records in his ninth season; Wilson broke Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes’ record for the most touchdown passes through three games (14) last week. In the 31-23 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s record for the most touchdown passes through the first four games of the season (16).

The Seahawks are now 4-0 for the second time in franchise history. This should be cause for celebration, and celebration only; but Seattle’s win at Hard Rock Stadium continues to show its maddening flaws. Wilson has been snubbed by MVP voters his entire career, and now, playing at an MVP-favorite-caliber level (some would argue for multiple seasons), the Seahawks are going to be the only thing in his way.

After social media successfully bullied Seattle to pass earlier in games/drives, Wilson has been the most effective quarterback in terms of DYAR (425) and DVOA (45.2%), according to Football Outsiders. The Seahawks have continued to pass on early downs, including in Week 4’s win where they doubled the passing plays in the first half, per The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin.

So, what’s the problem?

The Draft Network detailed Seattle’s flaws on defense after its Week 3 victory, and injuries to a number of key defensive players continued to stunt the unit’s overall development this week. There were flashes of good (even great) players making great plays—cornerbacks Ryan Neal and Shaquill Griffin lead the team with two interceptions in as many weeks—but the defense and inconsistencies on offense are going to continue to put the Seahawks in compromising situations Wilson might not always be able to get out of.

What was most concerning, and hopefully isolated to this week, was wide receiver Tyler Lockett’s lack of involvement. The Seahawks entered the game with the best receiver duo in the NFL. Lockett, who’s playing his sixth season in Seattle, has become Wilson’s most reliable target. Lockett and second-year receiver D.K. Metcalf were the most productive pass-catching duo after three weeks. They combined for 556 yards and seven touchdowns on 36 receptions. Wilson found Metcalf often, tossing four receptions his way for 106 yards. Lockett, however, didn’t have his first reception until the fourth quarter and finished the game with two catches for 39 yards.

The Seahawks pride themselves on finding diamonds in the rough and giving late-round selections or undrafted free agents the trust and opportunities to make game-changing plays; some even become staples of the franchise. Look at Wilson, himself, a third-round pick out of the 2012 class. But this only works when everything else is working around them, and yes, this also applies to the magician we know as Wilson.

Seattle won’t always get lucky as it did in Weeks 2-3 against the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, respectively. The Seahawks also won’t play as forgiving a team as the struggling Miami Dolphins. If they want to get out of the NFC West, then they need to be a lot more consistent on both sides of the ball. 

Wilson will always be Wilson, continuing to launch perfect deep balls and engineering touchdown drives that can start and end in a blink of an eye. It’s what makes him so exciting to what, and, in turn, so unnerving. No one ever knows what situation the Seahawks will put Wilson in. Does he share some of the blame some of the time? Certainly. But winning games in the fourth quarter becomes a huge ask late in the season, regardless of whether or not a team has a Hall of Fame passer in the pocket. 

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