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How little the Seahawks passed in 2019

Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Just a week remains until NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, must cut the size of the roster down to 53 players. For many fans, this is not only a time of excitement for the upcoming season, it’s also a time to worry about depth and those players on the fringes of the roster who could make an impact during 2020. As Field Gulls own Tyler Alsin notes, there is a lot of worry about what the depth at the wide receiver position will look like, but at the end of the day it’s probably not all that important.

Not only do the Seahawks not give a lot of targets to the third and fourth receivers, the simple fact of the matter is that Seattle is at the bottom of the league when it comes to how often they throw, regardless of the situation. As Hayden Winks of Rotoworld noted early in the summer, in neutral situations, which Winks defined as when a team has a win probability of between 25% and 75% and with more than two minutes left in a half, the Seahawks were the fourth least likely team to pass.

So, while the Seahawks were the 29th least likely to pass in neutral situations, were they more likely to throw in other situations? In 2019 the numbers show that Seattle was

  • 24th in pass frequency while winning (winning percentage>75% and 2+ minutes in the half)
  • 23rd in pass frequency while losing (winning percentage<25% and 2+ minutes in the half)

What it boils down to is that the Seahawks throw the ball less often than league average both while they are winning and losing on top of being 29th in passing frequency in neutral situations.

That leads to just one question: How bad is Russell Wilson?

He can’t be very good, because if he was, the team would take advantage of his skills and throw more often. If he was a quality quarterback, it wouldn’t make any sense for the ball to be taken out of his hands as often as it is. If he were able to consistently deliver through the air, any competent coaching staff would take advantage of having him on the field, right?

That leads to the logical follow up: If those who believe Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league today are correct, what does it say about a coaching staff that doesn’t take advantage of his skills?

What kind of coaching staff would possess one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the entire NFL and choose not to use it? What should be said about a coaching staff that has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and reduces the frequency with which they deploy his most dangerous skills? What is to be thought about a coaching staff embracing an offensive philosophy that minimizes the contributions to the offense of one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL?

Which one is it: Is Russell Wilson a bad quarterback, or is he misused by his coaching staff?