Regression to the mean
Say it with me y’all, “Re-gresh-shun”. The Seahawks had a historically awful run game last year. In fact, they lost about twice as much EPA as the average run on a per play basis. If rushing is generally like shooting your offense in the foot, Seattle was amputating the whole damn leg.
Despite throwing a league-leading 34 touchdowns, Russell Wilson had his worst Y/A of his career. I already explored how even a league-average run game would be an enormous boost to the offense, but getting him back to his usual levels of efficiency is going to be the difference between a better-than-last-year offense and a genuinely good offense. I was not thrilled with the Schottenheimer hire, but if he can avoid fucking up Russ’s contributions to the offense, he will probably be fine.
I have been on-the-record about not being as excited about Shaquem Griffin’s preseason as most. That being said, his possible emergence as a Diet K.J. Wright would be fantastic news for this franchise. His tackle numbers are certainly impressive and his speed has been evident throughout the preseason. If he can make the play-reading and screen-sniffing jump that Wright did, it will be a big boon to this defense.
It doesn’t hurt that Quem gets to play alongside his brother. The back of Shaquill Griffin’s helmet undoubtedly leads all NFL players in pass breakups. It is amazing how Quill can get so perfectly into position blanketing his man only to completely fail to turn his head. And while I don’t have *science* on my side here, I bet that competing with his brother is going to bring out the best in the young DB.
Russell Carrington Wilson
Through 6 NFL seasons, there have been 9 post-merger players with a higher league adjusted ANY/A than Russell Wilson. Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Boomer Esiason, Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpeper, Jim Kelly, Trent Green, Jeff Garcia, and Mark Rypien. Only Peyton Manning started as many games as Wilson and only Peyton Manning threw more passes than Wilson. The start of Wilson’s career has been better than Brady’s, Roethlisberger’s, Brees’s, and Palmer’s.
And that is only accounting for his passing prowess.
The threat of his legs makes every bootleg a potential explosive gain through the air —
/Sean Clement climbs up onto my desk as I am typing this
Yo, Peter, I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish but MICHAEL DICKSON HAD ONE OF THE BEST PUNTING PRESEASONS OF ALL TIME! ONE OF THE BEST PUNTING PRESEASONS OF ALL TIME!
… or on the ground. Hell, his efficiency could improve just by replacing a drop-prone Jimmy Graham (still the best TE in Seattle history and a good trade) with literally any other receiving option. If the Seahawks are going to make another run at the Lombardi, it is going to be because we are watching Russ do something special. The defense is unproven and the run game doesn’t matter (but hopefully won’t suck as much), but none of that will make a difference if Russ goes nuclear on the rest of the NFL.
And let’s not forget that we have already seen this happen. Russell’s play from 2012 to 2014 was already the fourth best trio of seasons to begin a quarterback’s career since the merger. And that doesn’t even take his monstrous 2015 into account. We don’t need Russ to develop into something more. We just need him to tap back into what he has always been.