“You watch him play and watch what he can do. He has done it with an offensive line in front of him that is extremely average”
Last Updated: 03/07/20 1:46pm
Had it not been for the genius of Lamar Jackson in 2019, it might well be Russell Wilson being referred to as the NFL’s reigning MVP heading into next season.
The Seattle Seahawks talisman produced heroics of his own behind yet again lacklustre protection as he spearheaded Pete Carroll’s side to an 11-5 record and a spot in the playoffs, where they were eventually beaten by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.
While the NFL stood mesmerised by the Baltimore Ravens superstar and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, Wilson was again proving why he is among the league’s most gifted quarterbacks.
“I don’t think people realise how dynamic he is and what really a special player he is,” Jeff Reinebold said on Inside The Huddle.
“That’s not to take anything at all from Lamar Jackson, because Lamar Jackson is unique. But Russell Wilson, you watch him play and watch what he can do. He has done it with an offensive line in front of him that is extremely average.”
Wilson was sacked a tied-league-high 48 times last season, following on from 51 in 2018 and 43 in 2017. In fact, he hasn’t been sacked fewer than 40 times since the 2012 season.
Behind a collapsing pocket, Wilson threw for 4,110 yards, 31 touchdowns (third in the league) and just five interceptions, as well as rushing for 342 yards and three touchdowns.
Alongside a potent running game, he escaped regular pressure to link up well with Tyler Lockett (82 catches for 1,057 receiving yards and eight touchdowns) and DK Metcalf (58 catches for 900 yards and seven touchdowns).
“Pete is a defensive coach and defensive coaches normally want you to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage, so the Seahawks will always be a run-first football team,” added Reinebold.
“But what that has done is gotten him an awful lot of good looks outside where he gets one-on-one coverage outside where he’s got guys in Metcalf and Lockett who can win one-on-one battles.
“Some of the time he gets it too them, and they do as good a job as anybody with the scrambles. He has not had clean pockets, not had great protection and still has managed to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.”
Injuries to running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny saw the Seahawks re-sign the previously-retired Marshawn Lynch ahead of the postseason earlier this year.
The Seahawks went out and strengthened in the backfield again this offseason as they signed Carlos Hyde following his 1,000-yard year with the Houston Texans.
They meanwhile acquired veteran tight end Greg Olsen as added support for Wilson, as well as signing former New England Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett.
“They’ve learned from history,” said Reinebold. “It’s very very difficult the way they pound the football to have one guy that’s going to last the whole season.
“Marshawn Lynch is a unique animal and he is one of those guys that seems to be able to get better as he gets more carries.
“There aren’t a lot of guys like that so I think it’s a smart move to go out and get Hyde which really hedges their bet with Carson’s hip.”