“Russell Wilson isn’t an ‘elite’ quarterback”, we’ve been hearing that a lot lately haven’t we?
I thought it was awesome what (what I assume to be) one of our readers, @JohnPaul Sein said yesterday in the comment section of one of our homepage posts at FanSided. Sometimes, stats are difficult to argue:
Let’s start with wins: 24 so far in his first two years. That’s a lot, right? Got to compare favorably with anyone, right?
Yep. The All-time wins leaders through two regular seasons:
Andrew Luck, 22
Dan Marino, 21
Joe Flacco 20
Now let’s shift to playoff games started. This will be Wilson’s fifth in two years. More rarified air. Most playoff games first two years:
Now let’s shift to passer rating (min. 25 starts). Surely Wilson can’t be on this list as well. After all, he’s a “game-manager”! But there he is. Best passer rating, first two seasons:Five wildly different disciplines… Wilson has not only been good at all five, he’s been among the best ever
Dan Marino, 104.5
Robert Griffin III, 91.5
Carson Palmer, 90.2
Wilson may be seen my some as a game manager. But he gets the ball down field as well as any second-year QB in history. Best average per pass attempt, first two season (min. 500 attempts):
Ben Roethlisberger, 8.89
Kurt Warner, 8.61
Dan Marino, 8.48
Y.A. Tittle, 8.19
Oh, did we mention that he’s one of the greatest running threats ever to play the position? Most rushing yards by QB, first two seasons
Cam Newton, 1,447
Robert Griffin, 1,304
Michael Vick, 1,066
Vince Young, 947
Five wildly different disciplines: scrambling, passing efficiently, downfield ability, winnng games, staying alive in the playoffs.
Wilson has not only been good at all five, he’s been among the best ever.
And keep in mind that he’s been doing it in the NFC West, the division with the best defenses in the NFL.
And yet when the 2011 Seahawks were playing the defense was ranked 24th and offense was ranked 28th.. then Russel Wilson comes in and offense jumps up to 17th but defense took a hit and was 29th.. Now in 2011 the record for the Sehawks was 7-9 and in 2012 Seahawks with Slightly better stats became 11-5.. and in 2013 the seahawks went 13-3 and its because of the DEFENSE???? the coaching staff has been the same since 2010… Wilson is without a doubt a leader on a grand scale… He is a great QB… but im sorry he is on a large margin better than Andrew Luck and Nick Foles…
I don’t really need to say too much more, but I do want to add a thing or two to this argument. Before I get too far along, I would like to point out that this is in no way an argument for how “elite” Russell Wilson is or is not. Quite frankly, it’s my opinion that two seasons is not enough of a sample size to judge “elite” status in the NFL or as a pro athlete in any sport.
This is because to truly gain that “elite” status, you have to perform at that level for several seasons. You have to endure the ups and downs of a roster and continue to lead your team to places they shouldn’t be. It’s not about wins early in your career, it’s not about stats early in your career and it’s not about big games started. Just look at the ‘Playoff games started’ list that has Roethlisberger, Sanchez and Joe Flacco on it. Elite? Hardly, but an impressive stat nonetheless.
But here’s the kicker, not yet being an “elite” quarterback in the NFL doesn’t change the fact that RW3 has played at an elite level. There’s no questioning the fact that two years into his career he may have the most complete package of any quarterback that’s ever played the game. There’s no denying that the team has outperformed not only their expectations over the past two seasons, but their talent level. Russ wasn’t even supposed to play his first year!
But this is the stat that really gets me and really does matter, Russell Wilson has 8 fourth quarter comebacks and has orchestrated a total of 10, yes TEN game winning drives in just two seasons.
Hold the phones! Hide your wife and hide your kids because THAT is the stat they didn’t want you to know about, folks. Right there, nothing else matters. Not what anybody else has done in the league, not how good you think the Seattle defense is, nothing.
Russell has absolutely proven that he is among the top quarterbacks in the league right now and has proven that he is as important as any other QB in the NFL is to their team. Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin and Cam Newton can all tell you first hand just how “elite” Wilson can be when the Seahawks are in trouble and up against the ropes. Pretty sure Peyton Manning doesn’t know that Wilson isn’t an elite quarterback and I know Matt Ryan‘s seen it.
Go ahead and throw in the fact that he did it in his first road playoff game at Washington and then took his team down TWICE in the NFC Championship game last season, before ultimately going on to have one of the best days a quarterback has had in a Super Bowl just two weeks later. Speaking of which, even if Peyton had been his usual untouchable “OMAHA” self in the Super Bowl, Wilson would still have won it for the Hawks, he was playing that high above everyone else.
Let’s also point out that all these cats that are spewing their nonesense of what Wilson has yet to accomplish in his career, are forgetting that they were the ones calling his entire receiving corps “mediocre, appetizers and a collection of backups”. Yet he still put up what amount to be one of, if not the, best rookie/sophomore year-combos the league has ever seen. And as JohnPaul said, the kid has elite tools and is perhaps the most complete quarterback the league has ever seen at his age.
So yeah you can bash him now for playing with a great defense or whatever, but sooner or later you will have to give him his due credit. If he continues on this path in 2014 with the schedule the Seahawks were given, serious consideration of elite status will be in the offing, there’s just no way around it.
So to summarize, he may not be “elite” just yet, but he’s putting in all the necessary work and has all the physical tools to be there at some point. That point may be sooner than later.