We’re down to just 12 days until the Seahawks take the field for their first practice. I found myself trying to pass the time by looking over some stats from 2012 and wondering what they’ll look like in 2013. I thought it might be a fun exercise to try and project a few based on what we know of the team.
I decided to take a look at Russell Wilson, and see if I could come up with a realistic expectation for his total yards in the season. To do this, I broke that down to a per game basis to try and make my estimation more accurate. Take a look and tell you what you think.
Anyone hoping to see Wilson sling the ball around all game like Matthew Stafford or Drew Brees isn’t going to like what I have to say here. Wilson’s total number of passing attempts isn’t likely to increase all that much.
The Seahawks are still coached by Pete Carroll, and their offensive identity isn’t going to change. They are going to be a run-first team that looks to shorten games by running the clock. That’s just part of the philosophy in Seattle right now.
Last season, Wilson only averaged just 24.5 passing attempts per game. While he lost playing time because of 3 blowout wins, Matt Flynn only had 9 total attempts in those games, so it’s not like Wilson lost many attempts with that playing time. The 2 QBs combined averaged just 26 attempts per game in 2012.
2013 likely wont be all that different. Its not like the defense is going to give up a lot more points, or the running game is suddenly going to become inept. If anything, the team will have less incentive to pass the ball because I don’t think they’ll be behind at the end of games as often this season.
My expectation is that we’ll see Wilson get 28 passing attempts per game. I expect him to get some leeway he didn’t have a year ago to audible into passes when the defense stacks the box, and that will give him a couple more attempts per game.
Yards per Attempt
Take a look at this chart of the league’s best QBs from 2012 in terms of yards per passing attempt:
Wilson was already among the league’s best in this statistical category. I included the table to show you that the best QBs were mostly just under 8 yards/attempt. Griffin was slightly over, and there’s usually a couple of QBs each year that break that threshold, but it’s not particularly common.
8 yards per attempt is a bit of a natural ceiling for NFL QBs. Due to the rarity and unpredictability of which QBs will be the one or two that breach that ceiling each year, I don’t think it’s reasonable to ever expect an individual player to do so.
At the same time, I don’t expect Wilson to regress in this area. He’s not going to suddenly become Brady Quinn and be unable to complete a pass over 5 yards. He always keeps his eyes downfield and isn’t afraid to take some deep shots. That wont go away.
Put those together and I think his yards per attempt will remain at approximately 8 this season.
This one is easy. Do the math:
28 attempts per game * 8 yards per attempt * 16 games = 3584 yards
That’s not an impressive number. It’s about 400 more yards than a year ago, but it still would have only been 18th in the league.
Interestingly though, that would still be the 7th best season in passing yards in franchise history, and it would be more passing yards than Matt Hasselbeck had in the Super Bowl season in 2005.