Russell Wilson is making progress as a quarterback, but the Seattle Seahawks rookie is operating out of scheme that's hemmed in his passing attempts to reduce risk.
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Coach Pete Carroll has adapted Seattle's offense for Wilson, and the team's 31st-ranked passing attack is a reflection of that. Wilson is dead last by a mile in yardage among this year's five rookie starters. His 815 passing yards trail Brandon Weeden (1,288), Ryan Tannehill (1,269), Andrew Luck (1,208) and Robert Griffin III (1,161), but Wilson has the most wins.
Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times reports that Wilson's 75.3 rating through five games ranks seventh on the list of the 20 rookie passers who started in Week 1 over the past 20 years. Not surprisingly, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck rank above him on that rundown.
Wilson, statistically, is closest to what Matt Ryan accomplished through five games as a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. Wilson and Ryan generated identical passer ratings and matching 3-2 records heading into Week 6.
We're seeing shades of progress. Wilson was at his best in Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers, but Rosenthal noted problems on third down. Four completions and one Wilson run failed to move the chains. That's not productive football. Wilson is playing reined-in under center, but the Seahawks believe they can win with a conservative approach while he matures.