Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has a bit of a turnover problem. It’s nothing to be alarmed about yet, but it’s definitely something to watch.
Warning: Blasphemy is about to ensue.
In T-minus three paragraphs, a slight critique of Russell Wilson will commence, so do whatever you must to prepare.
Don’t worry, I understand that the Seahawks would be toast without their quarterback. I acknowledge that they would have one fewer Super Bowl win if Wilson didn’t exist.
I agree wholeheartedly that No. 3 earned every cent of his $60 million in guaranteed money, but I also have a suggestion.
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Russ — stop giving the other team the ball.
Dating to last year’s NFC Championship Game, Wilson has nine turnovers in his past six games. And the one time he preserved the football for all four quarters came last week against the Chicago Bears, which was free of any stressful circumstance.
Other than that, there has been at least one crucial giveaway in a series of games all decided in the final two minutes. We know that RW is all about philanthropy, but dude — that has gotta have its limits.
Possession-protection, of course, hasn’t always been a shortcoming for Wilson. Last regular season, his seven interceptions and zero fumbles lost combined for the fewest QB turnovers in the NFL.
Did it help that the Seahawks recovered all 11 of his fumbles — the third-most in the league — or that he had fewer passing attempts than any of the 16 quarterbacks who played every game? Absolutely. But the point is that, until recently, a Russell Wilson turnover was an exception.
Now it’s inching closer to an expectation.
Obviously, you can’t overlook the 26-year-old’s style of play when evaluating his performance. He is a scrambling quarterback who, by design, holds on to the ball far longer than your prototypical NFL QB. Peruse NBA statistics for one day, and you’ll find that the elite players often top the league in turnovers. It’s basic math — the more the ball is in your hands, the more likely you are to cough it up.
You also can’t ignore the duress Wilson has been operating under lately. It’s like he’s playing touch football and the defense is allowed to blitz every time.
The offensive line has offered squat for protection, forcing Russell to make some of the most dazzling improvisations in any entertainment arena, let alone sport. Still, though there have been countless times he has been unreal, there have been plenty of times he’s just been unreliable.
Wilson threw four interceptions vs. the Packers in last year’s NFC Championship Game but got a reprieve when the Seahawks recovered an onside kick that spawned the comeback of the decade. He threw a goal-line pick in the Super Bowl two weeks later but was pardoned when the media crucified Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for the play call.
Wilson threw a second-quarter interception in an overtime loss to St. Louis in Week 1, a fourth-quarter interception while trailing Green Bay by seven in Week 2, and Monday night he lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter that should have cost the Seahawks the game.
They didn’t. Everyone talks about the tacklers Wilson is able to get away from, but what about the mistakes he’s been able to get away with?
This isn’t to say Russell shows no accountability. Quite the opposite. Asked about the two fumbles Monday night, he answered: “I’ve got to do a better job.”
This isn’t to say that the Seahawks aren’t exponentially better with Wilson behind center. You can maybe count on two hands the number of NFL quarterbacks capable of leading their teams to a Super Bowl, and Wilson is one of them. Even amid his struggles, Wilson’s 71.7 completion percentage this year is seven points higher than his career mark. All the praise he gets is warranted.
But so is the criticism.
Right now, Russell appears to have a bit of a turnover problem. It’s nothing to be alarmed about yet, but definitely something to watch.
The Seahawks still are in excellent hands with Wilson at quarterback — as long as he keeps his opponents’ hands off the ball.