Well, the Russell Wilson takes are coming. This one just isn’t the “potential trade packages” clickbait you have probably gotten used to seeing.
Monday morning on ESPN’s “Get Up,” former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark said Wilson is a very good QB, but “not an all-time great quarterback” and that “we have to stop putting him in those conversations.”
"Russell Wilson is not an all-time great QB. He's never going to be in those conversations. We have to stop putting him in that world that any team that has Russell Wilson can win a Super Bowl."— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) February 7, 2022
He later said Russell Wilson “isn’t that great” and “isn’t that much of a factor that changes who football teams are.”
Clark compared Wilson’s career trajectory to consensus future hall-of-famer Ben Roethlisberger, discussing how Roethlisberger won his titles with great defense and a strong running game, and that he never won rings with the “Killer B’s” high powered offense (Ben, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown).
Well, there is certainly a lot to unpack here, isn’t there?
First off, the idea that Wilson was some afterthought on the 2013 team behind the defense and Marshawn Lynch is an objectively false statement, as seen below.
It’s funny to me that this is still such a prevailing thought. Yes, the defense was insane in 2013, but the offense ranked 7th in DVOA and Wilson finished Top 10 in:— Jacson A. Bevens ⌚️ (@JacsonBevens) February 7, 2022
Wilson has accumulated more wins through 10 seasons than any quarterback to ever play. Are QB wins often a poor way of judging a player’s talent and ability? Sure (see Jimmy Garoppolo). But when a player has won that many games over that many years, he must have done a few things right.
Wilson also holds the fourth highest passer rating of all-time, ranks 15th all-time in passing touchdowns despite being 35th in pass attempts (whilst not even being in the top-100 all-time in interceptions thrown). Since entering the NFL in 2012 he is 2nd behind only Matthew Stafford in game-winning drives (playoffs included). His weighted Approximate Value among QBs drafted since 2000 ranks 7th. Even though Pro Bowls don’t hold as much weight these days, Wilson is just one away from 10 for his career and everyone on this list is a Hall of Famer or HOFer to be in the cases of Tom Brady and Joe Thomas.
And come the end of his career, it’s all but certain that he’ll find himself in Canton, OH at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That nod alone by definition makes a player an all-time great.
So, what exactly is it that he’s lacking in Clark’s eyes? If the answer is rings, then he, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are equal players to Joe Flacco by that logic. And you never heard people talk this way about about Brees, who also never won an MVP.
Maybe we shouldn’t waste so much energy on one person’s opinion, but it’s just a bit of an odd one to have after the first down season he’s had in his ten year career in which he dealt with an injury.
Editor’s note: By the way, I guess Russell’s career really nose-dived after the 2014 season in the eyes of Mr. Clark.