In the past decade, few quarterbacks have collected more decorated resumes on and off the field than Seahawks star Russell Wilson, who appears to be on a Hall of Fame track on the eve of his career. 10th season.
Since bursting onto the scene stealing the starting role from Matt Flynn as a rookie, Wilson has been selected in seven Pro Bowls, won second-team All-Pro honors in 2019, and smashed the Seattle’s record book with 33,946 passing yards and 267 touchdowns. past. He helped guide the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory and brought the team back to the big game the following year. Then last season, he added the Walter Payton Man of the Year award to his accolades for his commitment to helping others and helping those in need.
But despite all of these accomplishments, Wilson still hasn’t received a single MVP vote during his NFL career. Even after throwing a franchise record 40 touchdowns last season, only Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs and Josh Allen of the Bills got votes and the former third-round pick was once again ruled out.
While fans may have been annoyed by his omission, however, speaking in Wilson’s vernacular, the reality is that each of the aforementioned three-quarters had better seasons overall in 2020. Although Wilson finished second in the round. NFL on touchdown passes, he threw more interceptions (13) than Rodgers, Mahomes and Allen and finished with a lower passer rating and significantly lower passing distance in comparison.
Wilson also failed to help his cause by suffering the most prolonged crisis of his career in the final two months of the season. In the first eight games, he was clearly the favorite for the prize with 26 passing touchdowns, positioning himself to threaten Peyton Manning’s single-season record. But after that point, he’s only thrown 14 touchdowns in the last eight games and threw seven picks, tied for fourth in the league during that span.
After a hectic offseason in which Wilson publicly expressed his frustrations and business rumors ensued, what will it take for the star caller to break through and win his first MVP award? Or at least get a vote?
First and foremost, the turnover issues that arose last season need to be tackled. Throughout his career Wilson has been one of football’s best goalkeepers in the sport, often mentioned in the same breath as Rodgers for his lack of interceptions. In five of his first eight seasons, he’s pitched nine or fewer picks and on four occasions his interception percentage has fallen below 2%.
This trend continued into early 2020, as Wilson was only picked once in Seattle’s first three games and it wasn’t his fault. Tight end Greg Olsen had a perfect pass in his hands in the first practice of Week 2 and the Patriots ended up returning the deflection for a touchdown.
But after throwing just three interceptions in the first five games, Wilson unusually threw three in an overtime loss to the Cardinals in Week 7. The three picks are the result of a poor decision making by the quarterback, including a telegraphed pass into the apartments for Chris Carson at the goal line which was intercepted by safety Budda Baker and nearly came back for a touchdown.
After rebounding with a four touchdown performance against the crushed 49ers in Week 8, Wilson had two of the worst games of his career in consecutive losses on the road. In a 44-34 embarrassment at Buffalo, Wilson was intercepted twice and also lost a pair of fumbles. The following week the Rams knocked him out two more times and he lost another fumble as the Seahawks lost 23-16.
Herein lies the second major problem that Wilson must answer. Although he’s only thrown three interceptions in Seattle’s last seven regular season games, his confidence seemed to falter a bit after those three bad outings. He has become indecisive in the pocket, especially when it comes to short to intermediate passing play. Receivers would open up, especially in midfield, only for him to do a hesitant double clutch and allow the opponent to rush home.
At times Wilson seemed to come out of his pocket when the pressure wasn’t quite there either, reverting to some bad habits from early in his career. In doing so, he put his offensive line in a difficult position trying to protect him as he improvised when he didn’t need to.
These struggles played a key role in the decision to replace offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with former Rams assistant Shane Waldron. Throughout the offseason, coach Pete Carroll has emphasized the need for Wilson and the Seahawks to be more precise in the fast passing game and to implement a tempo to prevent teams from plotting explosive passes that dried up in the second half.
From a staff perspective, the Seahawks have made several additions that should help Wilson in his quest to be more effective in the short to intermediate passing game. Reunited with Waldron, Gerald Everett will provide the team with an athletic tight end capable of winning the seam and building yards after the catch. Second-round pick D’Wayne Eskridge also brings different elements to the receiving body, possessing the explosiveness to hit a home run whenever he has the ball while being a YAC monster on slanted roads and lanes. a break.
With these two weapons joining star receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and the offensive line improved with the acquisition of goaltender Gabe Jackson, Wilson has all the pieces in place to display the best numbers of his career and thus emerge as an MVP candidate. . But it will be up to him to learn from the mistakes that hampered him last year and do a better job of offloading the ball in a timely manner to mitigate the opposing pass rushers.
If Wilson makes the necessary adjustments with Waldron in charge, the Seahawks should still be able to pull down, playing on the quarterback’s bigger forces. The lack of a deep ball a year ago has undoubtedly hurt his MVP chances as well as Seattle’s offense in general and while the focus is more on quick passes, hitting explosives. will remain a priority.
While Wilson’s own performance will obviously have the biggest bearing on his chances of finally being in the MVP conversation, luck must also be seen as part of the equation and he hasn’t necessarily had much in it. which concerns the competition for the biggest of the league. prestigious award. Other quarters have simply been better or Seattle’s record has done him a disservice.
In 2015, Wilson ended the season by torching opposing secondaries with 24 touchdowns and just one interception in the Seahawks’ last seven games, making his way into the MVP discussion. But he still didn’t get a single vote, as Cam Newton aptly won the award after making 35 touchdowns and leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record. Tom Brady and Carson Palmer were the only other players to receive votes and both players had more touchdowns than Wilson as they played for teams with higher records.
Then, in 2017, taking charge of a terribly one-dimensional Seahawks team, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes and represented all but one of the team’s 38 offensive touchdowns. He remarkably accounted for 86% of his team’s yards in scrum, an NFL record for a single player during the Super Bowl era.
But again, the team’s success ended up hurting Wilson in the MVP vote, as the Seahawks battled 9-7 thanks to inept running play and falling defense. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and just like two years earlier, players from top teams received MVP votes. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the award for the third time, while Rams running back Todd Gurley and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz also received votes. All three players have played for teams that have won at least 11 games and made it to the playoffs.
Even in 2019, when Wilson threw 31 touchdowns against just five interceptions and led the Seahawks to an improved 11-5 record, his performance just fell short of that of the two-threat quarterback of the Ravens, Lamar Jackson. The ex-Louisville star had a historic season to run away with the MVP award, throwing 36 touchdown passes while rushing for an NFL record 1,206 yards.
In some ways, Wilson fell victim to his own consistency. Year after year, he’s guaranteed to throw over 30 touchdowns and be among the leaders in the league in terms of passer rank, completion percentage and yards per attempt. But he hasn’t posted a breathtaking season like Jackson’s two years ago or Rodgers in 2020. The fact that the Seahawks have only passed 11 wins once since 2014 hasn’t helped either. because team records seem to carry a lot of weight for MVP voters.
As Wilson has stated many times over the years, he is far more concerned with winning matches and championships than winning individual prizes. Or at least that’s what he said publicly. When considering his legacy, as he aspires to achieve both, winning another Lombardi Trophy will always trump an MVP award.
But based on past winners, there is clearly a strong correlation between these two goals. Given the arsenal of weapons surrounding him and an exciting new program to maximize that talent, if the Seahawks rack up any cluster wins next season, Wilson will likely be at the center of such success and with with luck on his side, he could finally beat Rodgers, Mahomes and Brady for an MVP.