This week, Russell Wilson brought the sacks conversation back into national attention. Right now fans are going back and forth on what level of blame to place upon Wilson, the offensive line, or the Seattle Seahawks leadership.
Since Wilson himself so brazenly opened the door, with all the ridiculous speculation that has followed, a simple observation.
There was a moment, five years ago. A football event happened on a football field, but it was one of the clearest demonstration of an intangible that Russell Wilson possesses (possessed?) in greater quantity than seemingly any other NFL player.
Wilson completed his first pass to Jermaine Kearse to beat the Green Bay Packers, 28-22, in overtime, for the 2015 NFC conference championship.
Kearse had been 0-5 to that point, causing two interceptions. It was a miraculous throw-and-catch and almost as surprising once we found out who’d received the ball. Jermaine Kearse??
After the game, both men spoke to the incredible trust, poise, confidence, hope, and all the other adjectives that Wilson is renowned to have. In fact, Kearse himself claimed that Wilson never gave up.
Throughout the game, he kept coming up to us and being positive. He said, ‘We’re gonna win this game. There’s no doubt in my mind and I’m going to keep coming to you guys. I’m going to stay aggressive.’ Things weren’t going well for the offense, but he led us back.
Wherever that mentality comes from, it seemed to fall just out of Wilson’s reach this season.
Lock, Drop, and Roll
Chris Carson should catch this, BUT— Matty F. Brown (@mattyfbrown) December 7, 2020
Russell Wilson's vision of the throw is obscured because he is short. Afraid of the ball being tipped or snagged by a DL, Wilson missiles the pass at Carson. https://t.co/JpGyXw0Fho
Great memory.— Matty F. Brown (@mattyfbrown) December 7, 2020
It's blind fear from Wilson.
In Week 13 against the New York Giants, the eye test showed that the receivers did not have their best week. Drops were costly and out of character, especially for Tyler Lockett. But Wilson’s hesitation grew every minute, and showed no hint of the ferocity spoken above.
It became clear when Wilson was nervous behind good protection, failing to attempt contested throws to either of his top-10 NFL wide receivers, and then making an inaccurate pass.
I used to not be familiar with this type of play from Russell Wilson. This year, unfortunately, it's been common. pic.twitter.com/7JGl9LvSnS— Tyler Alsin (@TylerjAlsin) December 7, 2020
Here’s another one for the “make some magic” crowd. Third Quarter, 52 seconds left, 1st and 10.
Russell Wilson was sacked on this play. His eyes never left DK Metcalf, and the snap-to-sack time was 5.5 seconds.
Clearly Metcalf is the primary read, and Wilson wanted to go for it. But he didn’t pull the trigger there, nor on Tyler Lockett, nor Will Dissly. Wilson can either complain about the line, or he continue refuting the idea that an incomplete pass or heaven forbid a five-yard dump off is better than a 15-yard sack. But he can’t do both.
It does seem clear that Brian Schottenheimer had a significant hand in Seattle’s demise. Pete Carroll has spoke far too often about creativity and predictability to believe otherwise. But Wilson grew more skittish as well and rediscovering the game-changing trust should be near the top of new OC Shane Waldron’s to-do list.