I’ve made it no secret that one of my concerns with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is that he has a tendency to hold the ball too long, and that if he would get the ball out quicker it would help not just the offense in general, but the pass protection and offensive line as well. On Sunday he did exactly what he needed to do - get the ball out quickly - and the impact that had on the passing game was readily visible.
According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Wilson had a time to throw of 2.58 seconds against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, which gave him the eighth fastest time to throw of all quarterbacks with enough snaps to qualify on Sunday. The results on him taking fewer hits was immediately apparent, as Russ was sacked a season low two times in the game while taking seven hits. That is a vast improvement over the first two weeks of the season, when he was sacked a dozen times and hit 19 times against the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.
Now, for comparison purposes, the flip side of this situation in Week 3 was Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Carr is renowned for having one of the quickest releases in the league, and that has contributed to significant accolades for the Oakland Raiders offensive line. After posting a time to throw of 2.46 seconds and 2.34 seconds in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, Carr took 2.64 seconds to get the ball out against the Miami Dolphins.
The difference which resulted from that extra two to three tenths of a second before he threw the ball contributed to Carr taking more sacks and more hits against Miami than he had in the two opening weeks combined. That is how critical it is for a quarterback to be decisive and deliver the ball quickly in the NFL, as every tenth of a second a quarterback holds the ball translates into a huge number of extra hits taken over the course of the season.
So, while it’s only one game, hopefully it’s the start of a trend for Wilson because 2.58 seconds is faster than his time to throw in any game from the 2017 season. We won’t know until the games are played, but hopefully he shows similar results against the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.