By Brady Henderson
Russell Wilson’s stellar 2012 season included a share of the rookie touchdown record, the league’s fourth-best QB rating and a third-place finish in voting for offensive rookie of the year.
Wilson still had his issues, despite what all the accolades would suggest.
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon says the rapport between Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin suffered last season because of the slot receiver’s injuries. (AP)
Where Wilson could stand to improve in his second season was among the subjects Brock Huard and Warren Moon discussed during a conversation Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle. Moon, the Hall of Fame quarterback and Seahawks radio analyst, noted Wilson’s success on deeper throws but said there’s room for improvement on “the more intermediate throws, the timing throws, especially with his slot receiver on third down.”
“He’s got to get better chemistry and relationship with whoever that slot receiver is going to be this year, because that’s your bread-and-butter guy, that’s what keeps the chains moving,” Moon said. “And I don’t think he really had that last year with Doug Baldwin being in and out of the lineup …
“So you’ve got to find out who that guy is going to be so he can establish that type of … rapport that you need to have on third down to keep the chains moving.”
Wilson was actually among the league’s better passers on third down. Mike Sando of ESPN.com produced a chart a few weeks back comparing third-down performances for NFC West quarterbacks. Wilson’s 60.0 completion percentage was tied for second, though he attempted more than twice as many passes as the leader in that category, Alex Smith. Wilson’s 6-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio was tops in the NFC West. His 96.2 rating was best in the division and first among all rookie quarterbacks.
Any issues he might have had establishing chemistry with Baldwin are understandable. A bad hamstring sidelined Baldwin for much of the preseason, and he missed two regular-season games due to shoulder and ankle injuries before enjoying a strong second half.
The addition of Percy Harvin gives the Seahawks another option in the slot. Harvin’s health, like Baldwin’s, isn’t a given. But with Wilson taking all the snaps this offseason – as opposed to a three-way split like last year – he should be in better position to develop the chemistry that might have been lacking in 2012.
Brock Huard elaborates on this topic in the video below, focusing on how difficult the Seahawks’ offense will be to defend if Wilson and his slot receivers are on the same page.
You can listen to Thursday’s show here.