Warren Moon: Loosen the reins on Russell Wilson
By Brady Henderson
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon thinks Russell Wilson is getting too much of the blame for Seattle’s offensive struggles.
In fact, he thinks the Seahawks would be better off opening up the playbook for their rookie quarterback.
The normally reserved Moon joined “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday and was vehement in his defense of Wilson, who has come under fire as the Seahawks’ ineffective passing offense has been a major factor in both of their losses – the latest a 19-13 defeat that featured three interceptions and only 160 yards through the air.
“This kid is in his fourth football game in the National Football League, his team is 2-2, right in the thick of their division, he had one bad outing which wasn’t even a bad outing – some of those things were out of his control – and people are ready to pull the plug,” said Moon, a color analyst on the the Seahawks’ radio broadcasts.
“Just be patient with the guy, let him fight through this and hopefully we continue to keep winning football games as we do it.”
For some, that patience ran out after watching the Seahawks offense struggle to move the ball through the air during Sunday’s loss to St. Louis. Wilson was intercepted three times – though one went through a receiver’s hands and another was the result of a tight end slipping out of his break – and Seattle scored a season-low 13 points.
Failing to sustain drives was as big a factor as any. The Seahawks converted just two of nine third-down opportunities, even though the average distance they needed was a manageable 3.44 yards. Seattle put the ball in Wilson’s hands seven times on third down, and the only time he converted was via a 2-yard run. He threw two incompletions and one interception, was sacked twice and took a 2-yard loss on a draw play in his other six opportunities.
Wilson’s 160 passing yards actually represented his highest output of the season. Through four games, Seattle’s 523 net passing yards ranks last in the NFL. The Seahawks aren’t asking Wilson to do too much, instead relying on the league’s leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch and a defense that is allowing just 14.5 points per game.
But Moon thinks the conservative approach the Seahawks are taking with Wilson is partly to blame. He said quarterbacks need their share of throws in order to establish a rhythm and pointed to the opening drive on Sunday as an example of how effective Wilson can be when they employ a mix of running and passing plays. Wilson looked sharp while completing all three of his attempts for 40 yards, while Lynch found the end zone on his fourth carry for the Seahawks’ only touchdown of the game.
Moon said Wilson approached him asking for advice. Wilson told Moon that he’s willing and able to take on more responsibility in Seattle’s offense.
“If you want to get the most out of Russell Wilson, get him more involved in what you’re doing offensively, let him throw the football, let him play action, let him get outside, let him do some of those things that he does best, that he was doing in the preseason,” Moon said. “They’re not doing that right now.”
The latest loss had some calling for backup Matt Flynn, but coach Pete Carroll said Monday that he wasn’t making a quarterback change and added that Flynn is still dealing with a lingering elbow issue. Wilson still has the job, and his next chance to establish an even stronger hold on it will come Sunday against the Panthers.
“I think Russell Wilson’s going to be OK,” Moon said. “I just think people need to relax a little bit, don’t push the panic button. Let’s see where we go this week. I think he’s going to come back and play very strong, I really do.