An “anonymous scout” apparently spoke to SI recently about one underrated and one overrated player on each NFC team. I find it interesting that the anonymous scout had time for 32 takes that read like they were written by just another SI writer, but since scouts are always anonymous, who knows what they have time for or what their writing styles may be like.
The article is full of hot takes from left to right, as one would expect from any publication that hopes to draw interest to the article. Would you be as quick to read an article if it said that Mark Sanchez was overrated and Chris Harris, Jr was underrated? No and neither would I. It might even exist somewhere on the vast internet, but I’ll never see it.
Instead, Twitter was aflutter with takes-on-takes-on-takes about what SI — ‘scuse, “anonymous scout” — had to say about Russell Wilson. (And you can trust that Sports Illustrated knew what the star quote of their article was, since that’s the quote out of all of them that they shared on Twitter.)
Overrated: Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson is not an elite quarterback. Pete Carroll has created an environment where he encourages individuals to be themselves and also demands his men to be their best and pay attention to details. It’s that setting, as well as a great defense, that has everything to do with the success the Seahawks have had over these last few years. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson has had a hand in this too, but he moves the offense because of the scheme and because they win the field position battle week in and week out. His style of play does not transcend the system. His career could have gone the opposite way elsewhere.
This is not new. This is the same criticism that has followed Wilson since he started playing better than most quarterbacks beginning in the middle of his rookie season in 2012. He’s successful because of a “setting” (read: system), and a defense. “Anonymous scout” also says that those factors have “everything to do with the success” and then one sentence later contradicts himself by saying that “Wilson has had a hand in this too...”
“Anonymous scout,” like everyone else who has used the “system” argument, still lacks evidence to support the claim. And that’s all it is: a claim. We don’t have a video breakdown, we don’t have GIFs showing how Wilson’s job was so easy that any decent QB in Seattle over the last four years could have won a passer rating title, a Super Bowl, two NFC Championships, and led the NFL in Y/A since 2012, we don’t even have a name to ask rebuttal questions to. We know that most scouts, anonymous or otherwise, say that the Seahawks have had the worst offensive line in the league. We know that their wide receivers have been widely criticized, as well as the play and usage of Jimmy Graham in 2015. We know that Graham and Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls were all seriously injured during Wilson’s historic 2015 season. But we don’t know the name of “anonymous scout” and we don’t know what “system” even means. We don’t know why “anonymous scout” doesn’t mention that Seattle’s offense has changed over the course of four seasons or that Wilson was a top-rated passer inside the pocket last year or why he led the NFL in touchdown passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air (12) despite being overrated.
I do know that it’s a take and it’s a hot one that’s generated articles about articles. I also know that Pete Prisco isn’t an NFL scout.