Today is the midpoint of July, which is relevant because that means the second half of the month starts Tuesday, and the second half of the month is when the Seattle Seahawks open training camp. Here at Field Gulls we’ve been counting down to the opening of camp working backwards one game at a time starting with the loss in the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys.
The week prior to finishing the season with a loss at Dallas, the Arizona Cardinals attempted to bore everyone to sleep in a Week 17 matchup that saw both offenses play conservatively. That came just a week after the Hawks hosted the Kansas City Chiefs for a primetime fireworks show that was must see TV. The victory over Kansas City was a bit of a surprise for fans who had just seen the Hawks lose on the road to the lowly San Francisco 49ers, but after Justin Coleman and the Hawks defense scored as many points as the offense of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14.
The ugly showing against the Vikings came just a week after a beat down of the 49ers, which came on the heels of consecutive come from behind victories by the Hawks. In Week 12 it was Seattle coming back to defeat the Carolina Panthers on the road, while in Week 11 the Seahawks had to dig out of an early double digit hole to come back and beat the Green Bay Packers at home.
That brings thing up through the Week 10 loss on the road to the Los Angeles Rams, and to where we find ourselves today: Looking at the Week 9 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Against the Chargers Russell Wilson tossed his second pick-6 of the season, which gave him two for the season, or double the number he had over the first six years of his career.
And of course his first pick-6 of the 2018 season had come in the Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Aquela pick six no horário nobre! Prince Amukamara interceptou Russell Wilson e foi para o touchdown. pic.twitter.com/ONc9IKvGOP— Left Tackle Brasil (@LeftTackleBR) September 18, 2018
His ability to avoid the pick-6 had been one of the things that many fans had touted was a great way to show how good Wilson is at protecting the football, but what if that ability to avoid the pick-6 was little more than a byproduct of the system in which he played? Back in June, Eric Edholm authored the following tweet, which is a list of currently active pick-6 leaders in the NFL.
Active pick-6 leaders— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) June 21, 2019
Big Ben, Matt Ryan16
Newton, Luck, Flacco, Cousins10
Geno Smith, Alex Smith8Gabbert, Henne7
Winston, Dak, Foles, Rosen, Keenum4
Obviously the players at the top of the list have been in the NFL for quite some time, but the majority of the top of the list has also played large portions of, if not all, of their careers in an Air Coryell system. Drew Brees played in the Air Coryell system in both San Diego under Cam Cameron and for Sean Payton in New Orleans, while Philip Rivers has also spent much of his career playing for Cameron or Norv Turner. Matthew Stafford spent the entirety of his career in an Air Coryell system up until Matt Patricia arrived and tasked Jim Bob Cooter with installing an Erhardt-Perkins offense.
Matt Ryan is one of the very interesting names on the list, as he spent the first four seasons of his career in an Erhardt-Perkins offense, and in those four seasons he tossed just two pick-6es. The Atlanta Falcons then moved to an Air Coryell offense in 2012, which they kept through the 2014 season. During those three seasons Ryan had nine passes picked off and returned for scores by the defense, including four in each of 2013 and 2014. Then, in 2015 Dan Quinn arrived and has had his offensive coordinators run the West Coast offense. In the four seasons in a West Coast offense Ryan has thrown five pick-6es.
So, it’s far from anything definitive, however, there’s seems to be enough smoke that it may warrant further investigation at some point.