Without Doug Baldwin (injured), Jimmy Graham (free agent departure), Paul Richardson (free agent departure), a dependable offensive line (the status quo in Seattle), and a top-ranked defense (a rarity in Seattle), Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is being asked to cover up the Seahawks’ many deficiencies. It hasn’t gone well so far.
After losing to the Bears on Monday night, the Seahawks are now 0-2. To this point, Wilson has completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 524 yards, five touchdowns, three picks, and an 89.3 passer rating. Alarmingly, he’s already been sacked 12 times — the most in football.
But according to the Seahawks coach, the offensive line doesn’t deserve all of the blame. Wilson does too. At least that’s what Pete Carroll told ESPN 710 in Seattle on Tuesday.
“I’m finding Russ over-trying a little bit,” Carroll said, according to The Seattle Times. “He’s pressing in difficult situations to try and see if he can come up with a way to make something happen instead of just getting rid of the football.”
Wilson got sacked five times in the first half on Monday night and the Seahawks’ offense entered the fourth quarter with only three points. It wasn’t until they trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter that their offense awakened. Wilson threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but he also turned the ball over twice, with a pick-six ending a potential game-tying drive and a fumble cementing the loss.
Both turnovers were on Wilson, but all the sacks weren’t.
“In the long yardage situations, he needs to throw the football a couple times,” Carroll said. “We need to get rid of the ball and just give up on a play because it’s not happening and not take an additional pressure. So that just adds up and it makes it hard on him.”
“The momentum of the rush building on you is a factor, and we’d like to eliminate that,” he added. “That does go right to Russell’s competitiveness. He’s a battler and he’s going to try to figure it out, and he has so many times. But maybe not then, not now, not in these (situations), and keep us forward a little bit better so we don’t have to take the negatives. The negative plays are really difficult. It kind of adds up on you somewhat.”
There’s no shame in losing to a very good Bears defense that includes front-seven players like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan, and Roquan Smith, but the Seahawks didn’t just get beat up because the Bears’ defense is good. They also got beat up because their offense, outside of Wilson, just isn’t very good.
When the Seahawks hired Brian Schottenheimer as their new offensive coordinator back in January, the move was met with plenty of skepticism considering Schottenheimer’s offenses have finished as top-10 scoring offense just once in nine seasons. When a whole host of talented players on both sides of the ball departed this offseason, the situation seemed bleak. Sure enough, the Seahawks don’t look like a very good team on either side of the ball.
Wilson deserves some blame for their struggles, but he’s been placed in an impossibly difficult situation — a situation that pretty much every other quarterback would struggle in. He’s got a bad offensive line, a nonexistent running game, a subpar receiving group, a defense that is no longer the dominant force it once was, and an offensive coordinator he might already be clashing with.
Key word: might.
The Seahawks are a mess, but if any 0-2 team can figure it out, it’s them. They’ve got a damn good quarterback in Wilson and a damn good coach in Carroll. They’re not going to play the Broncos and Bears’ defenses every week.
The talent surrounding Wilson is lacking, which means for the Seahawks to turn their season around, they’ll need Wilson to play like an MVP candidate, but we’ve seen Wilson go on those kinds of runs before. It wouldn’t be shocking if he does manage to singlehandedly turn around the Seahawks season, because that’s how good he is.
Up next for the Seahawks is their first home game of the season against the Cowboys.