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How defenses solved Russell Wilson in 2021

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Nobody’s expecting Geno Smith or Drew Lock to come out and be a more complete quarterback than Russell Wilson.

I mean, except this guy.

However, for two years, the eye test has not deceived you - despite his broad success, Russell Wilson is one of the worst quarterbacks against a particular type of coverage.

The worst in the NFL, actually, according to Doug Farrar and the research at Sports Info Solutions.

It may intrigue the reader to know that Baker Mayfield was dubbed NFL’s worst against cover-1, and amuse the reader to learn that Jimmy Garoppolo was the worst QB at the goal line.

But Seattle’s quarterback of the last decade could not solve Quarters, and the Denver Broncos are holding their breath that nobody has read the article, I bet.

Here’s the skinny on Wilson:

Last season against Cover-4 (also called “Quarters”), Wilson completed 38 of 67 passes for 415 yards, 284 air yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions, an ANY/A of 2.9, and a passer rating of 62.7. Wilson is a great explosive-play quarterback, but there are times when brackets and late-breaking safeties get him in trouble.

38 of 67 is good for 56.7 completion percentage, which contributed to Wilson’s lowest value in five years. Cover-4 gives Wilson the fits.

Here is the example clip Farrar chose to use in the original article, and pay attention to the game-situation; it’s especially important.

What looks like a Hail Mary with 54 seconds left is sort of the point, as it’s also first and ten across midfield in a 10-point game.

Yes, the chances of the Seahawks tying this game back up are miniscule, yes, making a shot like that would have been on-brand epic. But it’s exactly the type of mistake Wilson was most prone to make for over a year now. Wilson chose his moment, chose his target (DK Metcalf is not a bad choice), but was not able to hit it soon enough, through it sideline enough, or read the safety well enough to give Metcalf a chance.

In fact, that game against the Los Angeles Rams was Wilson’s weakest of the entire season save the Green Bay came for which they rushed him back. Los Angeles played WIlson’s weakness to a tee, as he barely hit half of his passes.

If the Broncos go full send on Wilson next season, they are betting on either he or they finding a way to overcome a scheme that pretty effectively shut him down while with Seattle.