Seahawks quarterly review
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Russell Wilson is clearly superhuman. Playing with an MCL sprain against the New York Jets and its “human turnover machine” known as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wilson went out and played a perfect game without the full use of his legs, giving Seattle a 27-17 victory.
Wilson’s ability to play through pain, as well as being effective without his trademark mobility, is single handedly the reason the Seattle Seahawks sit at a 3-1 record a quarter of the way through the 2016 NFL season.
It would be remiss to not mention that the defense is currently first in third-down percentage allowed (30.4 percent), second in yards allowed per game (264), and third in points allowed (13.5) behind two undefeated teams, Minnesota (4-0) and Philadelphia (3-0). The defense has given up the least amount of points the last three seasons and it hopes to continue that streak this year.
While the defense is obviously the strength of Seattle’s team, a defense cannot win games alone. Christine Michael appears to be a real contributor and C.J. Spiller has only been in town for a week after being cut by the New Orleans Saints, but the stable of running backs is averaging a combined paltry 3.7 yards per carry. Thomas Rawls is out for an extended period of time for the second-straight season, and no one is sure if he truly is the heir to former running back Marshawn Lynch.
Rookie backup quarterback Trevone Boykin isn’t ready to be a quality starter in this league and he might not ever be. Not re-signing former backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was clearly a cap decision, but Boykin has an uphill climb to relevance in the NFL, even as a backup.
Wilson’s pass catchers have done their jobs, primarily Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham. On a side note, I ruptured my patellar tendon in 2006 playing youth football and it took me seven months to be able to fully extend my knee and walk. The fact that Graham has come back at such an elite level, less than a year after rupturing his patellar tendon, both amazes and terrifies me. There’s nothing this man can’t do.
The offensive line is just as much of a mess as it has been since the departure of the Super Bowl XLVIII winning line of;,center Max Unger, tackle Russell Okung, guard J.R. Sweezy, tackle Breno Giacomini and guard James Carpenter. Young high-draft picks such as Justin Britt and Germain Ifedi look like they can become top-level contributors one day (especially with Britt’s success since moving to center), but the rest of the line is held together by the NFL’s equivalent of super glue: late-round draft picks and lower-tier free agents.
Not investing in more talent for the offensive line is not a sustainable practice for the team and Wilson is too valuable of an asset to have on the ground losing yards and risking injury. Cam Newton and Andrew Luck have proved repeatedly that they can endure 20 or more hits a game, but they are both half a foot taller than Wilson. That half foot in height means Newton and Luck match the size of most of the defensive linemen bringing them to the ground, not like the smaller Wilson.
Despite issues in the backfield and along the offensive line, Wilson and the defense have kept the team on track to make it to the playoffs, and their efforts illustrate why the Seahawks are still among the elite teams in the league.