Columnist doubts Russell Wilson will ever be elite
By Brady Henderson
“Game manager” has become almost a pejorative term in the NFL lexicon, one that’s used to describe quarterbacks who aren’t good enough to win games on their own and instead are effectively told not to lose them.
Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and the divisional round of the playoffs last year while tying the rookie record for touchdown passes with 26. The Seahawks, particularly in the second half of the season, won some of those games because of their rookie quarterback, not in spite of him.
So naturally, the gloves nearly came off when ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha told “Brock and Danny” on Tuesday that he sees Wilson as more of a game manager than someone who will become one of the game’s elite quarterbacks.
“I think there’s a perception out there – whether it’s fair or unfair – that he’s going to be a superstar,” Chadiha said, “and I don’t think that’s gonna be the case.”
Wilson’s passing yardage was the basis for Chadiha’s contention. He averaged 195 yards per game during the regular season while throwing for fewer than 200 yards nine times. Wilson’s only 300-yard game came in the playoffs, when he threw for 385 in a loss to the Falcons.
“I think if you look at his numbers, yeah, that’s what I would call him. I think if you’re talking about somebody who is carrying a football team, you’re talking about somebody who is throwing for 300, 400 yards per game, doing what Tom Brady does in New England, doing what Peyton Manning does in Denver, doing what Philip Rivers does in San Diego,” Chadiha said.
The genesis of the conversation was Chadiha’s latest column on ESPN.com in which he contends Wilson has more to prove than fellow young quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Indianapolis, Washington’s Robert Griffin III and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick – who all had breakout seasons in 2012 as either rookies or first-time starters. Those other three, Chadiha wrote, were more impressive than Wilson because they did just as much or more despite factors that made their situations less favorable.
“I think that team (Seattle) is built to run the football, it’s built to play good defense and it’s built to have a quarterback who plays efficiently,” Chadiha said. “He makes plays, don’t get me wrong. But I think it would be wrong to say he is in the same category as some of the guys who are as young as he is.”
Huard and Danny O’Neil pick up the conversation there.
You can listen to Tuesday’s show here.