Now that Russell Wilson is getting paid like a franchise quarterback, everyone expects him to start playing like one — including his own coaches, who aren’t exactly thrilled with some of his mishaps of late.
In particular, Wilson received criticism from offensive coordinator Darren Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable for missing opportunities for big plays and for taking sacks in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson was far from sharp at home against the NFC West-leading Cardinals, completing just 43.8 percent of his passes with a touchdown and an interception — one of the worst performances of the week by any NFL quarterback.
Needless to say, Wilson’s coaches expect more out of him.
Speaking on KJR Radio in Seattle, Bevell lamented a huge missed opportunity on the play in which Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Wilson on a pass intended for receiver Doug Baldwin.
“We had full progression, kind of across the board for that one,” Bevell said. “We had a chance for (Tyler) Lockett, we had a chance for Doug, and basically Russell said he just missed it.”
As you can see on the replay, Baldwin did beat Mathieu but was unable to haul in an errant throw by his quarterback. As Bevell put it, Wilson just needed to give Baldwin “an opportunity” to make a play on the ball but failed to do so.
Bevell also criticized Wilson for his inability to connect with tight end Jimmy Graham, whom he said has been a focal point in practice.
“I think you’ve got to make sure that you give him a chance,” Bevell continued. “We’re working him every day in practice. …we want to be able to give Jimmy a chance to be able to make a play. Whether it’s that one, whether it’s the two-point play, or any others.”
Offensive line coach Cable, as mentioned before, was also less than pleased about the two sacks Wilson took — especially the near-disaster when Wilson fumbled near his own goal line.
Russell Wilson scrambles around near his end zone, bumps into his own man, ball comes loose…
— NFL (@NFL) November 16, 2015
This isn’t exactly a new development for Wilson and the Seahawks, though. The young quarterback is trudging through is most difficult season as a pro and is on pace to throw more interceptions than he ever has in the past, with seven through nine games. Of course, the 33 sacks taken have certainly played a large part in his regression, but it’s clear not every sack he takes — as good as he is at avoiding them sometimes — is the responsibility of the haggard offensive line.
If the Seahawks (4-5) are to avoid missing the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl the past two years, then Wilson must play better. Many wondered if he was worth the hefty price tag Seattle committed this offseason (four years, $87.6 million), and so far he hasn’t done anything to prove he is worth that kind of cheddar.
It’s time for Wilson to step up and play the best ball of his career to spark a late-season revival for the defending NFC champs, and to start earning his money. Perhaps a broken San Francisco 49ers team will provide the fodder he needs to take a step in the right direction when the Seahawks host their NFC West rival Sunday at CenturyLink Field.