There Will Not Be A Sophomore Slump With Russell Wilson

I keep hearing a lot of crap about how Russell Wilson is not going to be as good in 2013 as he was in 2012.  To be fair, I hear the same crap about Colin Kaepernick and the rest of the 2012 first-year phenoms.  I’m just not buying it.  The one argument I’ll accept is having reservations about RGIII’s ability to stay healthy.  If he can’t, then obviously he’s not going to have as good a year.  But, when you talk about these quarterbacks, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind:  all of them were flawed in some way.

When you say things like, “I think Russell Wilson will take a step back in year two,” what it sounds like to me is that he was as good as he’s going to get in year one, when that’s absolutely not the case.  For nearly the first half of last season, Russell Wilson looked like and played like a rookie quarterback.  If his 2012 as a whole is as good as he’s going to be, and he’s actually going to be WORSE in 2013?  Then, I have sour news for you, Seahawks fans.  Anything worse, with the schedule and hype we’re facing this season, and we won’t be making the playoffs, let alone going to the Super Bowl.

So, what’s your argument?  What possible rationale do you have, except for being a spineless, nutless individual who can’t possibly take any risks in his prognostication?  You’ve got to see a sure thing sitting there on the table before you’ll put in any chips!  You lack convictions, you follow the crowd, you jump on ESPN’s jock when they finally decide to anoint a superstar.

If your argument is:  Defenses Will Adjust, then I’ll tell you what, CONGRATULATIONS!  You did it, you’ve figured out football.  I can’t believe it has taken society this long to come to this grandiose conclusion.  OF COURSE defenses will adjust!  That’s what they do!  Look, don’t tell anyone else – this is just between you and me – but defenses also make adjustments on the fly, DURING an individual game of football … GASP!  I know, right?  It’s like they’re trying to figure out anything and everything they can do to prevent the other team from scoring points or something.  If only offenses had the ability to also adjust … no, that’s just crazy talk …

While I acknowledge that all of these quarterbacks were flawed in some way in 2012, that doesn’t mean their main flaw is so gigantic that a simple defensive adjustment is going to render them impotent.  Everyone likes to bash the zone read.  The only reason these quarterbacks were as good as they were is because they ran with the football.  Take that away, and you’re going to see some regression.

Yeah, I don’t think so.  Everyone seems to agree that Russell Wilson is more of a passer than a runner – especially compared to Kaepernick and RGIII – but they always like to throw that out there as a reason why Wilson will take a step back.  Russell Wilson averaged 30.56 yards per game on the ground in 2012.  He could never run the football again the rest of his life and I think he’d manage to find a way to get those 30 yards back somehow.  In fact, when you look at his season as a runner, you’re looking at three games:  @ Chicago (the first game we really busted out the zone read; 9 carries for 71 yards), @ Buffalo (where they were completely inept and let us run up 50 points; 9 carries for 92 yards), and to a lesser extent, vs. St. Louis (10 carries, 58 yards).  That’s 221 of his total 489 yards, or nearly HALF of his season’s output on the ground.

How did Seattle POSSIBLY win those other 8 games?  Could it have been (among other reasons) on the arm of Russell Wilson?

I would argue there are no more dedicated football players in the game today.  There may be guys who are AS dedicated, but no one who surpasses Wilson.  The Seahawks (and, for that matter, opposing defenses) put challenges in front of Russell Wilson every week last season, and he succeeded every time.  He only got BETTER as the season wore on and the pressure began to mount.  In fourth quarters, there wasn’t anyone I’d rather have under center.  So, you’re telling me, as the unquestioned leader of this team, with a full off-season of doing nothing more than watching tape, throwing routes, lifting weights, and getting to know his teammates; with the addition of a weapon like Percy Harvin and the running backs we found in the draft; with a full training camp and pre-season to get his timing down with receivers … you’re telling me that Russell Wilson is somehow going to be WORSE than he was in 2012?  Are you new?  Can you not recognize a legitimate superstar when you see one?  Are you so afraid to have an opinion that belongs anywhere close to the 21st century until it’s too late and everyone has already passed you by?

Or, let’s look at it from another angle.  Maybe you just don’t trust young quarterbacks.  You’ve seen too many of them flame out.  I get it!  I’ve been there.  Rick Mirer was supposedly the answer, and his rookie season was pretty darn good.  He went on to unfathomable levels of ineptitude and we were all made to look like suckers.  But, who are some of the best quarterbacks in the game today?  Guys like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger.  These are guys who either started as rookies, or as very young guys.  Their first seasons were pretty good, I’d say.  And, across the board, their second seasons were even better.

Sometimes, guys get better from Year 1 to Year 2.  Seriously, look it up.  This isn’t the 1970s.  Get with the times and buy in to the next wave of superstar quarterbacks.  Join us on the ground floor; because after a month or two, it’s going to be awfully crowded.

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