Is Wilson being blamed for Seahawk losses?


Russell Wilson was a Godsend for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. At a time when the organization needed to find a franchise quarterback more than anything, he was the hand-picked choice fby GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

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His career arch has been exhilarating, yet also odd. For all the unprecedented success he’s led his team to over his first four seasons, he seems to take a disproportionate amount of criticism. Even after his team won a Super Bowl he had major detractors. The positive narrative is he’s a laser-focused leader, obsessed with becoming the best, and a player who overcame a significant disadvantage for his position (lack of height) through sheer determination and a unique secondary skill-set. His critics would tell you he’s a product of being in the right place at the right time and on most other teams would appear ordinary at best.

That stuff happens to most players, save for a handful of them universally-acknowledged as “elite.”

But when players, or coaches on your own team start pointing the finger of blame at you, then it becomes a disturbing issue, and one that could threaten to tear down team chemistry.

You might never expect that type of behavior from the Seahawks. Not this team, run by this organization, with this head coach who believes in brotherhood and teamwork and chemistry above nearly everything else.

But it’s happening.

Offense line coach Tom Cable did it in his media availability yesterday, as did offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Cable, when asked to assess his position group’s performance in pass protection against the Arizona Cardinals noted that there were two sacks, but the line wasn’t at fault in either one. He put the blame squarely on Wilson’s shoulders. Never mind all the plays where early pressure forced Wilson into scrambling before he ever had a chance to stick his back foot in the turf. Cable sounds like a guy who is feeling the heat for the consistently awful play of his troops. His intent may have been to praise his linemen by pointing it out, but it came across as criticism of the QB. Not a great look.

Bevell was more specific, detailing how Wilson cost the team by missing two wide open receivers on the deep ball he had picked off in the third quarter Sunday. The result was a 10 point swing as the Cardinals converted the turnover into a field goal.

"“We had full progression, kind of across the board for that one. We had a chance for [Tyler] Lockett, we had a chance for Doug, and basically Russell said he just missed it.”"

Bevell went on to describe Wilson’s failure on one of the missed 2-point conversion attempts:

"“He had an opportunity to give Doug a chance and really didn’t give him a chance. Particularly on that type of situation, you want to make sure you give your guys an opportunity to make a play.”"

WR Doug Baldwin came to Bevell’s defense yesterday, and in doing so may have thrown more fuel on the Wilson fire. Speaking on ESPN 710 radio in Seattle, Baldwin said the widespread criticism of Bevell is off the mark:

"“Obviously, people who are saying that aren’t looking at the games. They’re not watching the films. I don’t know what film they’re watching if they’re saying that Darrell Bevell is the problem because, like I said, there’s plays out there and we just have to get to them. We consistently have been inconsistent in getting to them.”"

And who’s most responsible for “getting to” plays than the quarterback? Baldwin seemed to be making a general statement that the entire offense needs to take accountability, but in not mentioning any position group specifically, this could be construed as an indictment of the field general.

Statements like this aren’t that uncommon in the NFL, but it’s new to us here. We haven’t seen much of this until now. Most self-criticism has been framed using we or us, but never him or them.

And don’t get me wrong, questioning Wilson’s performance this year, or even his focus, may be fair. After starting the season looking like a guy who was ready to take a step forward as a passer, he looks to have regressed. Reads aren’t happening as quickly, he’s missing easy throws and wide open receivers, all the while continuing with his sometimes robotic, cliche, ever-optimistic post game assessments.

Has anything changed? Is there reason for concern? Has his new found fame, celebrity and wealth taken even the slightest percentage away from whatever gave him his edge before? And if so, is it fixable? Was it inevitable that he go through this transition?

Or is it simply that 9 games of poor pass protection has messed with his timing, and his confidence in the guys in front of him. And is THAT fixable?

Next: Seahawks release WR Chris Matthews

Obviously, everything looks a lot worse for the Seahawks at 4-5 than it might look if, say…. they had finished off the Bengals and Panthers to be sitting at 6-3 with wins over two previously undefeated teams. We would still be complaining about play calling, poor pass protection and missed throws, but it wouldn’t be as apocalyptic as it seems now.

And maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe these are minor issues bubbling to the surface only because this team is having to learn how to deal with losing again. It could be just a proverbial bump in the road, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.