To those Seahawks fans fretting about Russell Wilson, perhaps detecting some flaws and worried over a flattening career trajectory, I offer this suggestion: Look around.
In the big picture, your worries are minor by comparison.
While Wilson’s passer rating at the midpoint of the season matches his career low of 95.0, and his six interceptions in eight games are only one short of his total last season in 16, it could be worse.
Way, way, way worse. Be thankful.
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Remember when Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick were in television commercials together, symbolic of two rising young NFL star quarterbacks?
Well, Kaepernick got benched this week and it’s fair to wonder about his future in San Francisco — or anywhere else for that matter.
He hadn’t produced on a team that is in disarray (2-6 with a new coach and a number of lost veterans). In that context, Kaepernick in no way resembles the quarterback who led the 49ers to NFC championship games in 2012 and 2013.
Looking at the list of the NFL’s passer ratings reveals some other pretty shocking statistics.
Kaepernick, way down at No. 28 in the rankings at 78.8, lost his job. So, you may wonder, who could be worse in the league than Kaepernick? Who could be at Nos. 29-32 in this week’s passer ratings?
Well, each was a No. 1 overall draft pick. No. 29, Cam Newton, Carolina, at 78.1. No. 30, Sam Bradford, Philadelphia, at 76.4. No. 31, Peyton Manning, Denver, at 75.1, and No. 32, Andrew Luck, Indianapolis, at 71.6.
Keep looking. Former first overall pick Matthew Stafford, Detroit, is 24th at 84.1, and Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco is 25th at 82.8. Former No. 1 pick Alex Smith, Kansas City, is 17th at 92.1.
Robert Griffin III, meanwhile, the No. 2 pick behind Luck the year Wilson was taken 75th, can’t even get on the field. He’s third-team for Washington.
When you throw in injuries to starters, some of the games can become unwatchable. And certainly unpredictable.
On Sunday, for instance, Dallas lost, 13-12, to the Seahawks. They had cast-off veteran Matt Cassel at quarterback. How much different is that game with regular Cowboys starter Tony Romo at quarterback?
Certainly, they’re more than one point better with Romo at quarterback.
In Cincinnati, Andy Dalton is having his best season by almost 20 ratings points, and the Bengals are 7-0 in large part as a result.
They topped the Seahawks, 27-24, in overtime in October. Do you think the Bengals pull out a win over the Seahawks if Dalton hadn’t been on the field? His backup is rookie free agent A.J. McCarron, who has never thrown an NFL pass.
Look no further than the NFC West for further proof of the value of a proven starter. The Cardinals have played like an elite team in recent seasons except when quarterback Carson Palmer was injured and they were led by a series of ineffective fill-ins.
This season, Palmer is not only healthy but ranked No. 3 in the NFL at 110.2, and the Cardinals are 6-2.
Succeeding at quarterback isn’t a solitary achievement, as they need protection and offensive diversity and a quality scheme.
Wilson and others in his exclusive fraternity of NFL quarterbacks need all the help they can get.
The first half of this season may provide greater proof than ever that there are not enough good quarterbacks to fill every team in the league, and that even when you think you’ve got the one, it might not last for long. So enjoy it.
Just something to think about before getting too greedy when you have a reliable and efficient starter.
These guys get the big money. Some of them are even worth it.