Front Office View  

 

Seattle Seahawks should sit Russell Wilson and play Matt Flynn

Novelist Aldous Huxley once said that "There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception."

Carroll: Sticking with Wilson
Though Russell Wilson has struggled to start the season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the rookie is still his starter. More ...

Huxley was not talking about NFL football, but he could have been. Certain things are known about the value of an NFL player's talent level, while other things are unknown. Then, of course, you have the perceived value, which can be very different from the real value, especially when it comes to younger players.

Take the case of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the rookie third-round draft pick. The perception of his play has far outweighed his actual performance on the field so far this season.

I want to make it clear that I am a fan of Wilson, and I think he has a decent chance to be a good starter in the NFL. However, before April's draft, I was not sold on Wilson as an automatic future star. I was concerned about his height and whether he could see down the field and play well for 16 games. Like everyone who evaluated Wilson, I loved his character, his intangibles, his work ethic and his ability to lead a team. But unlike everyone else, I have not let his persona off the field drive my opinion of his performance on it.

Though there was a lot of positive talk about Wilson after last Monday's win over the Green Bay Packers, he has not impressed with his play. Against Green Bay, Wilson made a couple of good throws, too many bad throws, and threw the ball away too much. Had it not been for those infamous calls in the end zone, Wilson would be the starting quarterback of a 1-3 team right now. And the Seahawks are too good to be 1-3, especially considering their defensive prowess.

No, current Seahawks backup Matt Flynn did not ask me to write this column. But he has to be sitting on the sideline, counting the money he received in the deal he signed this offseason and wondering what Wilson does that he cannot do. He has to be thinking that he might be better for the Seahawks right now, considering his level of experience and understanding of the pro game.

Let's face it, the Seahawks are never going to have an explosive offense, whether it's led by Flynn or Wilson, but they have to score more points somehow. Would Flynn help them do that? My guess is he would.

In three of their four games this season, the Seahawks failed to score more than 20 points, putting up 16 against the Arizona Cardinals, 14 against the Packers and 13 against the St. Louis Rams. At the quarter mark of the season, the Seahawks should be asking themselves if Flynn could take the helm and score more.

Seattle utilizes a run-based offense, and teams that do that often score more field goals than touchdowns. But the Seahawks must find a way to make more plays in the passing game -- especially down the field.

Wilson's longest pass play of the season went for just 41 yards, and his next longest pass went for 27. Running back Marshawn Lynch's longest run of the season, meanwhile, was for 36 yards. Until the Seahawks put together some kind of passing game, they won't challenge for a playoff spot -- it's hard to win in the NFL right now with just a great defense.

The problems that Wilson's height gave him in college are hurting him in the pro game. When he's unable to see down the field, Wilson has to move out of the pocket and attempt to make a play with his feet -- which often means he throws the ball away. When he throws the ball in rhythm, he's fine, but a good defense will often take those kinds of throws away by the second quarter of a game.

Right now, the perception of Wilson as a success does not match the reality on the game tape. The Seahawks have to find a way to score more, and they have to see whether Flynn can help them do that.

THINGS I LOVED

I loved how two older, veteran quarterbacks dominated. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (36) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (35) looked exceptional in victories over the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills, respectively. Both players seem to have regained their old form after having relatively poor starts to 2012. Brady and Manning square off on Sunday, which might just be a playoff preview.

I loved how Kevin Kolb finally showed some toughness. In the past, Kolb hasn't been the type of player who bounces back after getting knocked down. But on Sunday, after the Miami Dolphins defensive line pounded him for eight sacks (by the way, I also loved Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake), Kolb picked himself up off the ground and made key plays to help the Arizona Cardinals rally and stay undefeated.

I loved how the San Francisco 49ers responded as a team after their Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, pummeling the New York Jets. This game was over quickly, with the 49ers showing the Jets what a ground-and-pound team really looks like, as well as what a Wildcat offense can really do. Losing to the Vikings might have been the best thing to happen to this San Francisco squad -- a sleeping giant has been awakened.

THINGS I HATED

I hated watching the Detroit Lions special teams unit. One week after the Lions let the Tennessee Titans' Darius Reynaud return a kickoff 105 yards for a score, they let the Minnesota Vikings jump out to an early lead with a touchdown return by Percy Harvin. Detroit's season appears to be in trouble. The Lions are 1-3, but they could be 0-4, as their only win came on a last-minute rally after an afternoon of poor play. The Lions need to use this bye week to look in the mirror and evaluate who they are.

I hated watching the Kansas City Chiefs just give another game away with turnovers. Even considering a Week 3 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Chiefs have not played well all year, making too many mistakes on both sides of the ball. Right now, the Chiefs are the most generous team in the NFL. Coughing up 15 turnovers in four games is a quick way to a 1-3 record.

I hated watching the Buffalo Bills defensive line get pounded by the Patriots throughout their matchup Sunday. Mario Williams in particular was easily taken care of. He and defensive end Mark Anderson were the Bills' marquee free-agent signings this offseason, but right now, they are the team's biggest disappointments, and the Patriots manhandled them all day.

THINGS ON MY MIND

» Brandon Bolden, an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi, looks like he'll be a huge upgrade for the New England Patriots at running back this season. Bolden has explosive power and is good in the passing game.

» I know that Packers coach Mike McCarthy is really high on running back Cedric Benson, and I greatly respect his opinion, but I don't see what he's seeing. Benson does not show the power, the burst or the explosion this Packers running game needs.

» The Carolina Panthers have to be so disappointed in their loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Allowing a team with no timeouts to move into field goal range is inexcusable. The Falcons coaches clearly prepared their team to succeed in that situational part of the game, while the Panthers let it slip away. Worse than the big pass to Roddy White was the ease with which the Falcons were able to gain yards and get out of bounds to stop the clock.

» Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris is looking like another late-round find for coach Mike Shanahan. The rookie, who was drafted in the sixth round, is strong and powerful, able to break tackles with his lower body.

» Miami has the best left-handed running game in the NFL right now. Behind offensive linemen Jake Long and Richie Incognito, the 'Fins are knocking everyone off the ball.

» Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline was great against the Cardinals, proving with his 253 receiving yards and 80-yard score that crafty route running is more important than blazing speed.

» With cornerback Darrelle Revis out for the season, the New York Jets have turned to Kyle Wilson to replace him, but based on how Wilson played against the Niners on Sunday, that's a scary proposition. Based on my film review, Wilson will struggle to keep his starting job, even with Revis hurt.

» This offseason, the Houston Texans let veterans Mario Williams and offensive tackle Eric Winston walk in free agency, and both decisions seem to have been on-target. Williams is not worth the money the Bills paid him, and Winston is playing very poorly in Kansas City.

Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15