To start off my position review for the Seahawks in the 2016/2017 season I will be looking at the Quaterback position first. Some people may say this is obvious as it is seen as the most important position in american football. I disagree. This is for three reasons:
- DEFENCE If you have a top defence that gets your Offence on the pitch as much as possible, at the same time limiting your opponent’s scoring, the Quaterback doesn’t have to make as many plays – taking a big weight off his shoulders
- OL If your team has a great OL it will give your QB way more time to find the right play OR give him the space to run himself (see the Cowboys this season where the rookies Prescott and Elliott could settle in much easier). It will also support the next point…
- RUNNING GAME If you have a great running game, not only does it give the QB more time as the opposing defence tries to read your play, it also gives him yards and less pressure to do it all himself. As an example 8/12 playoff teams were in the top half of the table for total rushing yards last season…Seattle came in 25/32 with only Detroit and the Giants worse…
…and this brings me onto why, in this segment about Quaterbacks, I have written less about the QBs than anything else. I want to set the scene for you. Russell Wilson had one of the worst rushing attacks over the regular season out of all eventual offseason teams, which he couldn’t even compensate with his own, usually strong, running due to two early leg injuries (knee and ankle).
In addition to this you look at his Offensive Line: he was under a Center who was having his first season in that position (third position in third season), with two rookies in the starting line (one only had 1 year experience playing the sport at college), completed by a second- and a third year player (neither of who had been starters at their respective position last season). The average starting OL age was tied in third place for the youngest in the league at 24.6 years.
And to top it all off the Defence with the LOB had the worst season since 2011. Dropping 6 places in passing, rushing and receiving defence from the 2015 regular season.
So now that the scene is set, lets talk about the QBs:
QB1 Russell Wilson (28 years old)
- 2012/2013 – Rookie season (3rd round pick); immediate starter leading his team to the playoffs (and every season since)
- 2013/2014 – Superbowl winner
- 2014/2015 – Back to back Superbowl appearances (lost the game on the last play)
- 2015/2016 – Extends contract for 4 years – breaks many Seahawks passing records
- 2016/2017 – Despite the difficulties mentioned above, still carries the team to the playoffs
- increased his attempted and completed passes at a steady rate since the rookie season (average completion of 64.7% has stayed consistent);
- rushing for an average of 607.5 yds during his first 4 seasons, which took a big dip to 259 yds last season;
- baseball background and still plays in the offseason, which can be seen in some of his throws and can give him a great advantage . Leading on from his throwing:
- the highest completion percentage to attempt ratio in the league when it comes to throwing the deep pass
- the highest use of play action plays in the league (feeds off a strong run game regardless of what PFF say)
Wilson is a true posterboy. Not only is he one of the most positive and confident people you will ever see, but he also has the social engagement and NFL Stats to match. He always seems to know what he should say and has an incredible belief in himself, by which I in no way mean arrogance.
Where does this all come from? To reduce it to the basics: God and his dad. While his father trained him to be a perfect QB from the age of 7 (mock press conferences and all) leading to him being associated with a certain OCD, the unrelenting and complete belief in God lets him overcome obstacles with seeming ease where other might falter (2015 Superbowl final, injuries of the 2016 season, etc). This causes some people to say that he is mechanical and sometimes doesn’t come across as authentic, there was even talk of locker room discord because he seemed closer to the front office than the team. Perhaps it was one of the reasons Lynch left, who knows.
Fact is that I believe player mentality is one of the most important aspects of the game (see LOB and how they energise the team, or what Lynch’s runs did) and if you want to read a bit more about him beside the pitch read this great piece. I believe that it can go two ways with Wilson: either he gets lost in his belief somewhere down the road or his conviction (together with a franchise that supports him) could lead him to become one of the GOAT.
QB2 Trevone Boykin (23 years old)
- 2016/2017 – Rookie season (Undrafted Free Agent) – 5 appearances
In Boykin the Seahawks have the perfect backup to Wilson, in my eyes. While there is no point in talking about his NFL Stats, there simply isn’t enough material, his demeanour and attitude showed plenty. Unafraid, calm and collected he led drives down the field at a fast pace, of course the games were largely decided at that point. Another thing I liked about his play was that he didn’t always choose the obvious receivers with Baldwin or Graham and didn’t just run the ball either. He got fellow rookies like McEvoy involved and even attempted some runs himself.
On top of that, when you look at his college stats he is very similar to Wilson. Boykin rushed an average of around 500 yds per season (Wilson around 350) and his passing average was 61.2% (Wilson had 60.9% with 72.8% in his final year), an improvement from 57.2 to 64.8% over four years.
What to keep the same
If we are talking simply about personell, I do not see a need for change, and with neither of the Quaterbacks giving rise for injury concern (we will see how Wilson is next season) I don’t see the need for a third option.
What needs to change?
So from the previous section you can see that I believe the Seahawks are in a pretty good spot for this position (one of their strongest position groups) so the things that need to change are more Total Offence related, of which QBs are obviously a part:
- Red Zone conversion At 47.62% the Seahawks were 25th in the league. With an improved and more experienced OL as well as a RB like Lacy and Wilson back to full health I see an increase of 5-10%. That, along with improved Defence play should see them into the playoffs again next year.
- Increased QB runs I know the decrease was purely down to health this season and Wilson still lit it up with his arm. However, when he got healthier again towards the end of the season and started using his legs, you could see what an additional weapon that can be.
- Use 88 more With Jimmy Graham you have one of the most athletic and best receiving TEs in the league. Use him more. Even if the coaching staff wanted to hold him back because of the injury he was coming off, it was frustrating at times to see how he was underused.
- Fast Drives When Wilson is coming from behind and has to drive fast he can develop some very impressive play. It would be good to utilise these pressure plays on the opposing D, in other situations than when the Seahawks are up against the wall. The Seahawks have the tools to really play with the tempo.
- TD:INT Ratio There were a couple of interceptions that were not Wilson’s fault and I do believe that pressure due to a weak OL and Injuries played its part. However, Wilson also had less touchdowns than any other season (except 2014 where his TD:INT ration was better). This year he had 21 Touchdowns for 11 Interceptions, which means an interception every 1.9 TDs.