May 20, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) participates in organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Describing The Seahawks Skill Players

As the countdown to 2013 crawls along there have been a lot of predictions being made on this site by my 12thmanrising colleagues for the coming year. Most of these predictions are fairly optimistic, and for good reason. This team has a lot of potential. Yesterday hated rival Vernon Davis was even quoted as saying that the Seahawks were building a “dynasty” so life is good. That said, I thought that instead of looking towards the future and making predictions, in this article I’m going to take a look back into the rear view mirror at 2012. My natural instinct for doing that is to look at what the numbers tell us about what happened. Numbers are reliable, they don’t lie and they are descriptive. However, they are the not flawless.

Numbers alone for their all their honesty can be a little soulless. Trust me, I’m not anti-statistics in the slightest but when you remember the seasons that have passed you probably remember plays, moments and wins, not raw data. Today I’m interested in a more vivid form of description, description by comparison. As you’ll see I’m not dismissing the underlying stats (I’m too addicted to write a post of only words) but I will be framing them a little differently.

Today my goal was to find the doppelganger team for the Seattle Seahawks, using comparison as a means for describing how our players performed. In this case I will be focusing the “skill players” because it is both easier to quantify their offensive production and skill players on other teams are more well known, probably due to fantasy football as much as anything else.

We start at quarterback. Russell Wilson is very unique and developed a great deal as the season progressed so it’s hard to find a truly descriptive doppelganger for him. However, a quick perusal of the data leads to a fairly unsurprising conclusion. Russell Wilson’s doppelganger in 2012 was Robert Griffin III. Below is a brief table of their numbers:

Player

Passing Yards

Completions

Attempts

Completion %

Yards per Attempt

Passer Rating

QBR

Russell Wilson

3118

252

393

64.1

7.9

100.0

69.59

Robert Griffin III

3200

258

393

65.6

8.1

102.4

71.41

Wilson didn’t have running numbers like RGIII, but no one can run like that. Wilson also had more touchdowns and more interceptions but the numbers come out scarily similar in a lot of regards. It will be fun to compare these two going forward. The next step in my quest for doppelgangers was to find the most comparable back to Marshawn Lynch. We all know that Lynch is a very unique player but his doppelganger has very similar numbers. That doppelganger is Alfred Morris of the Redskins.

Player

Carries

Rushing Yards

Yards Per Carry

Rushing Yards per Game

Touchdowns

Marshawn Lynch

315

1590

5.0

99.4

11

Alfred Morris

335

1613

4.8

100.8

13

Morris had a bit of a heavier workload than Lynch but these numbers are once again very similar. Neither player did much in the way of catching balls either. When I started this exercise I didn’t realize how similar the Seattle and Washington backfields were. On to the wide receivers. Starting with the imported #1 Percy Harvin. Harvin is another unique player that is hard to find a comparable for but I tried my best. Because Harvin played only 9 games this year I focused on rate stats and with that in mind the closest comparison I came across was Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne. Here’s how they match up:

Player

Rec/Game

Yards/Game

TD/Game

Yards/Rec

Percy Harvin

6.9

75.2

0.33

10.9

Reggie Wayne

6.6

84.7

0.31

12.8

Harvin is a tough type to find a similar player for statistically because he catches so many short passes but Wayne is the closest there is. If we were talking a scouting report as opposed to a statistical doppelganger Randall Cobb would be a better comparison. Next up is the other wide receiver, Sidney Rice. Rice compared most similarly to a play I did not expect: Oakland’s Denarius Moore

Player

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

Yards/Reception

Yards/Game

Receptions/Game

Sidney Rice

50

748

7

15

46.8

3.1

Denarius Moore

51

741

7

14.5

49.4

3.4

Those are better number than I expected from Denarius Moore to be honest.  Once again these lines are very similar. To put the final touches on the Seahawks receiving core is Golden Tate. Tate is another player who is fairly unique and I was surprised his statistical match with big, physical receiver Brandon LaFell of the Panthers:

Player

Reception

Yards

Touchdowns

Yards/Reception

Yards/Game

Receptions/Game

Golden Tate

45

688

7

15.3

45.9

3

Brandon LaFell

44

677

4

15.4

48.1

3.1

This one is interesting because the two players are so statistically similar and yet play so differently. I had planned to do this with all the Seahawks skill players but comparables for Zach Miller and Michael Robinson were too far off and didn’t capture their production as blockers.

I realized that I started this article saying that sometimes numbers don’t go far enough to describe reality and then leaned on them heavily to make a description. I’m a hypocrite, I get that. However, the purpose of this weird little exercise was to use numbers to come up with a description of the Seahawks offense players that doesn’t require numbers. Instead of saying “Russell Wilson had a 100 passer rating last year” you might say “Russell Wilson was a lot like RGIII last year but with less running” if that suits you better.

This doppelganger offense I’ve created is a pretty potent one. I imagine RGIII throwing to Reggie Wayne, Denarius Moore and Brandon LaFell with Alfred Morris in the backfield could do some serious damage. Therefore it stands to reason that Russell Wilson throwing to Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate with Marshawn Lynch at running back could too. I’m not sure which offense is better, but I do know that when I look at the Seahawks in terms of who they compare to as opposed to the raw numbers themselves it’s just another reason for me to be excited about 2013.

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