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Reporters continue to make critiques of Russell Wilson that sound nice but aren't true

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On Monday, ESPN reporter Sheil Kapadia -- an extremely fortunate get for the Seattle Seahawks fan audience when he replaced Terry Blount last year -- ran a story asking other NFC West writers what they think of Russell Wilson, or what they thought NFL personnel think of him after leading the league in passer rating last season. As expected, everyone really likes Wilson at this point.

He's a two-time NFC champion, one-time Super Bowl-winner, and he's set, tied, or come close to breaking dozens of records for achievement by a QB in a single game, single season, or career through four seasons. If you still think there are five quarterbacks better than Wilson as of 2016, then you probably still believe that the WWE is real or that ...

"If a team can take away his run game, he's not as effective ..."

Those are the words of Josh Weinfuss, ESPN NFL Nation reporter for the Arizona Cardinals. Let's take a quick look at the accuracy of that statement, since it's Tuesday and I ain't got shit else to do for the next thirty minutes.

Last season, Wilson rushed for 553 yards on 103 carries. It's a solid amount for a quarterback, but Wilson actually toned down the run game last year, scrambled less, and began trusting his receivers and staying in the pocket as the season wore on. Consider that in 2014 he ran for 849 yards, including three games with at least 100 yards rushing. In 2015, his highest rushing total was 78 against the Green Bay Packers. He only rushed for over 40 yards six times. And were teams more successful when they limited him in the run game?

The Seahawks were 0-3 in Wilson's three highest totals for rushing yards in 2015. They were 6-1 when he rushed for 30 or fewer yards.

Let's repeat Weinfuss's statement again:

"If a team can take away his run game, he's not as effective ..."

In the three worst rushing games of Wilson's 2015 season, he threw for 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Seattle scored 110 points in those games. The whole point of the article was, "Wilson led the NFL in passer rating last year, what do you think of him now?" The answer shouldn't still be, "If he's not able to run, he can't get it done." Even if it does have a nice ring to it.

The question specifically references a passing statistic. You still don't think he's effective when he's limited to only being able to pass the ball absent a rushing threat?

There still seems to be a commonly held notion this year that Wilson won't have a long-lasting career because he relies too much on his legs. Yes, Wilson needs to rely on escapability and scrambling within the pocket and outside of the pocket due to a porous offensive line, but so does Aaron Rodgers. So did Steve Young. Same for Cam Newton, who I've seen take more questionable hits than Wilson, a player who has always been very conscious of sliding and running out of bounds.

One more note from Weinfuss:

"That said, his leading the league in passer rating is deceiving. He had the fourth-fewest passing attempts among the top 10 in passer rating -- and 144 fewer than New Orleans' Drew Brees, who had the most among those top 10. Those extra passes could be the difference between Wilson proving himself as a truly elite passer or someone who just gets by with his feet."

It's true that Wilson was tied for 17th in attempts last season. Isn't it impressive then that he still managed to throw 34 touchdown passes, two fewer than league-leader Tom Brady, who had 141 more attempts than Wilson?

I'm sorry, did anyone else hear this criticism about Newton? You know, the MVP who had 13 more pass attempts than Wilson last season.

And what does efficiency count for? Wilson had a TD% of 7.0, second in the NFL behind Newton, who threw one more touchdown than Wilson. Brees had a TD% of 5.1, good for 14th. Are we really at the point now where we are rewarding quarterbacks because they just throw more than other quarterbacks? Do you think Brees gets to the stadium every Sunday and says, "Glad I have this really shitty defense, guess that means I'll get more drives and more throws today. Wahoo!" It's a product completely out of a quarterbacks control, but what was in Wilson's control was that on 483 attempts, he had the highest passer rating in the NFL. The fifth-best INT%. The fourth-highest Y/A. Carson Palmer, the Cardinals QB of course, led the NFL in Y/A. Certainly a praise bestowed upon us by any Arizona beat writer. Palmer had 537 attempts. He had 54 more attempts than Wilson. An average of 3.375 more attempts per game. Yeah, you know that monumental number ... "three and change."

What was supposed to happen in those 54 attempts, I wonder? Roughly six quarters of football. Would Wilson throw 12 interceptions over those six quarters? He averages 0.5 interceptions per game, so that means an average of 0.75 interceptions per six quarters, but hey, we'll never know because Wilson's too scared to throw it a staggering 100 more times, which would certainly plummet a rating that was 17.4 points better than Rodgers.

And by the by, in the second half of the season, Wilson had an NFL-best 25 touchdowns and he did it on 249 attempts. That's an average of a touchdown pass on less than every 10 attempts. That's somehow a punishment.

I don't really know where this continued criticism is still coming from after the last four years, what compels people to specifically target Wilson as a player who is a mirage and will fade away shortly, but I at least hope that whatever criticism does come his way -- and there are things to critique, for sure -- it has some basis of fact.