Sunday, September 2, 2012

Russell Wilson: Clear Choice for Pete Carroll

Last week, Pete Carroll named rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the week 1 starter for the Seattle Seahawks; a move which has been both highly criticized and praised among football analysts. 

On the surface, it seems like a bad move. Matt Flynn, the former Green Bay Packer was brought in this year via free agency to presumably start for the Seahawks. He is making $6.5 million this year. His career stats are superb even though he has only started a few games. But Russell Wilson still is the clear choice to start week 1. 

Seattle pulled a surprise move in this spring's draft, when they chose Russell Wilson a quarterback from University of Wisconsin with their third round pick. Wilson had put up great stats over his college tenure with North Carolina State University and Wisconsin. His main problem is that he is only 5"11. Most teams saw that as a key flaw believing he was too short to really ever accomplish much in the league. 

Seattle was able to look past that and draft him as a project player. The signed him to a  cheap contract (4 years, $2.99 million) and planned for him to develop for a few years. But, Pete Carroll was impressed with him after his rookie camp and declared an open quarterback competition which Wilson did eventually win. Below are a few rebuttals for several popular reasons as to why Russell Wilson should not be starting:

"Matt Flynn is being paid a lot. It is stupid for the Seahawks not to start him." Matt Flynn is  being paid a lot of money but he ranks as the 22nd highest paid quarterbacks in the league. He is the most expensive backup at the moment, but Wilson has the smallest contract of any starting quarterback.

"Matt Flynn was a waste of money and will be a major bust." Flynn could be a bust but it is too early to tell. Flynn didn't play poorly in the preseason, Wilson was spectacular. Also, if Wilson's preseason performance does not translate to the regular season, Flynn will become the starter at some point.

"Russell Wilson won the job because he played against second and third team defenses." This argument is entirely false. For the first two preseason games, he did play against second team defenses and picked them apart. But, for the third game, he started and played the entire first half against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had a  formidable defense last year and Wilson destroyed them. The Seahawks were able to put up thirty seven points before Wilson exited. He did not throw an interception and the Seahawks scored on all of his drives meaning they did not have to punt.

"He is a fluke; If he was this good, he would have been a top ten draft pick." It is too early to say that Wilson is a fluke or to say that he is the next great quarterback. But, the talent and instincts have always been there. Despite his height disadvantage, every quarterback taken ahead of Wilson had more passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage. When the Seahawks drafted him, one of the analysts talked about how several scouts told him that if Russell Wilson had the height of Andrew Luck or RGIII, he would have been taken as a top five, possibly a number one draft pick. 

So while it is too early to declare him a fluke or the next great passer, one thing is for sure. Wilson deserves to start for the Seahawks. His play has been remarkable and he won the job in a fair, open quarterback competition against all odds.


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