The Seahawks have a real dilemma on their hands at the QB position. Rookie Russell Wilson appears to be clearly in over his head at the moment, and no, that isn’t a reference to his height.
Before I get too far into this, I need to say that the losses aren’t Wilson’s fault. I’m not trying to pin them on him at all. There’s plenty of blame to go around, including the play calling and the receivers, and only a small portion rests at the feet of Wilson. The problem is that the Seahawks inept passing offense can drag down this team and eventually lead to a lot more losses if it doesn’t get better, and the only way it’s going to be better is if it gets more production out of its QB.
The Seahawks currently rank last in the league is passing yards, and 2nd to last in yards per attempt. Despite the fact that Wilson isn’t being asked to do much besides not turn the ball over, he’s down at 27th of 32 starting QBs in terms of QB rating.
The advanced stats aren’t any nicer to Wilson. ESPN’s total QBR has him 31st in the league. Pro Football Focus says his VOA is 28th. Advanced NFL Stats has him 32nd in the league in WPA.
All of this is despite that fact that the Seahawks currently have league’s leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch to carry the load and be the focus of the opponent’s defense.
A lot of fans want to place the blame on the offensive line, but despite the line having a rough game against the Cardinals to open the season, they are the 9th best in the league with only 8 sacks. Even you you factor in the lack of passing attempts, the Seahawks are right at league average at 12.5 passing attempts per sack. The Seahawks offensive line hasn’t been great at pass blocking by any measure, but they haven’t been the cause for the Seahawk’s offensive passing struggles either.
I keep reading and hearing fans say that the Seahwks just need to “open up the offense” and that will fix the problem. I don’t buy that. There’s a reason why the Seahawks, and every team with a rookie QB for that matter, restricts the playbook. Its to keep things simplified for the young player. The goals is to make it easy on the youngster, to avoid confusion, and thus to help limit the number of mistakes.
The problem for the Seahawks is that Wilson isn’t making the correct reads now. He’s being confused by defenses, not seeing open players, and making poor choices already. How is making things more complicated and confusing going to make any of that better? It like a taking a new chef that is struggling to fill all of the orders at his restaurant in a timely manner, and saying “you know what will fix the problem, lets double the number of customers we’re getting.” While it might speed up the learning of the young cook, it certainly wont be good for the restaurant or its customers.
Keeping things simple for Wilson is the best option right now. He needs to show he can handle what’s being put on his plate before being given more to chew on.
Another problem is that Wilson is also showing a major lack of pocket presence right now, which was one of his strengths in college. He steps up into pressure when there’s no outside pass rush to make him do so. He run away from the pocket when he has room to step up. And he repeatedly ran into, instead of away from, sacks last Sunday.
Ultimately though, Wilson is the answer at QB for the Seahawks. Matt Flynn’s elbow is still bothersome, so even if the team wanted to bench Wilson is can’t do so. I don’t think they want to, and I believe they are right to stay with him, at least for now.
Wilson is one of the hardest workers you’ll find. He studies. He learns. Eventually all that work will pay off.
I just hope it happens before the Seahawk’s playoff hopes have been completed chewed up and spit out.