Comparing Russell Wilson to 2022 Pro Bowl Quarterbacks.

The Seahawks have had a bad year, there is no denying. The general consensus appears to be that Russell Wilson has not played to a standard conducive to success: PFF ranked him the 24th best quarterback in football prior to the Detroit game. I wanted to determine whether Wilson had undergone such a regression from elite to mediocre, or even poor, disregarding his injury.

In full disclosure, I believe Russell Wilson to be an elite quarterback and I don't believe that any trade package could be put together that would make sense for the Seahawks to accept unless it contains a well above average quarterback.

In this piece I will compare Wilson to the quarterbacks named to the 2022 Pro Bowl: Jackson, Murray, Mahomes, Rodgers, Brady, and Herbert. Jackson obviously contributes more value as a runner, and so I will do comparisons both with and without Jackson. The statistics used are Y/A+, NY/A+, AY/A+, ANY/A+, Cmp%+, TD%+, and INT%+. To give context to the numbers, I will use IAY/A, CAY/A, and CAY/C.

For the first set of stats, I will give Wilson's rank (of 7), compare his value to the average of all 6 others, and his value to the average of the 5 others without Jackson.

Yards per attempt +: Wilson = 111
Rank: 3
Average with Jackson: 109.3
Average without Jackson: 109.6

Net yards per attempt+: Wilson = 102
Rank: 6
Average with Jackson: 110.3
Average without Jackson: 112.2

Adjusted yards per attempt+: Wilson = 116
Rank: 2
Average with Jackson: 109.5
Average without Jackson: 112

Adjusted net yards per attempt +: Wilson = 109
Rank: 6
Average with Jackson: 110.3
Average without Jackson: 113.6

Completion percentage +: Wilson = 100
Rank: 6
Average with Jackson: 109.3
Average without Jackson: 111.8

Touchdown percentage +: Wilson = 112
Rank: 2 (tied with Brady)
Average with Jackson: 109.3
Average without Jackson: 112

Interception percentage +: Wilson = 120
Rank: 2
Average with Jackson: 103.5
Average without Jackson: 109

These statistics suggest 2 things. First, Aaron Rodgers is good at football (however, he may not be the best quarterback this year). Secondly, these are Wilson's peers. Russell Wilson, this year alone, is a Pro Bowl passer. He is above the non-Jackson averages in Y/A, AY/A, and INT%, average in TD%, and below average in Cmp%, NY/A, and ANY/A; amongst only the best 5 passers named to this year's Pro Bowl. He is only below average in completion percentage and stats which incorporate yardage lost to sacks. Many believe that quarterbacks share a great deal of responsibility for the sacks they suffer, however, as the next set of data will show, Wilson is asked to hold onto the ball far longer than his peers, which may explain the number of sacks he suffers.

Intended air yards per attempt: Wilson = 9.7
Rank: 1
Average with Jackson: 8.0
Average without Jackson: 7.7

Completed air yards per completion: Wilson = 6.4
Rank: 2
Average with Jackson: 5.9
Average without Jackson: 5.6

Completed air yards per attempt: Wilson = 4.2
Rank: 3
Average with Jackson: 3.9
Average without Jackson: 3.8

Wilson is asked to throw the ball far further down the field, and only Jackson completes passes further down the field. Wilson does this whilst being exceptional at avoiding interceptions (Jackson's figure is horrible, an INT%+ of 76). It is fair to suggest that Wilson might be expected to throw more touchdowns given that he throws the ball deeper than his peers, though TD% doesn't penalise for touchdowns created by YAC.

Despite his injury, Wilson has produced numbers equivalent to the 5 best passers selected to the Pro Bowl. He is still an elite quarterback and he is deserving of his contract. There is little recourse to blame Wilson for the offence's failures, or for the team's record: his peers have won 13, 12, 11, 11, 9, and 8 games this year. I do not know who to blame for the ills suffered this year, but I know not to blame Wilson.

The best passer this year?

I will compare 2 players, A and B, using all of the stats as before.

Y/A+: 112/135
NY/A+: 113/121
AY/A+: 123/125
ANY/A+: 122/116
Cmp%+: 116/124
TD%+: 121/118
INT%+: 132/91
IAY/A: 7.8/8
CAY/C: 5.3/6.4
CAY/A: 3.7/4.5

Player A is Aaron Rodgers. Player B is more efficient at accruing yardage and completing passes despite being asked to throw the ball further down the field. He is poor at avoiding interceptions, however, interceptions are low frequency events, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Players A and B throw touchdowns at a similar rate. I understand the aversion to interceptions, and indeed Wilson's ability to avoid interceptions over the course of his career is one of his better aspects and part of my belief that there are very few better than him. Despite this, I believe that the best quarterback this year has been...
...Joe Burrow.