DANNY AND GALLANT

Gallant: Which of the 3 versions of Russell Wilson will Seahawks get going forward?

Dec 5, 2020, 10:42 AM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Paul Gallant says the Seahawks need the Week 1-5 version of Russell Wilson back. (Getty)
(Getty)

We’ve seen three versions of Russell Wilson in 2020.

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The first five games of the season, Russell Wilson was the obvious front-runner for NFL MVP. He was terrifying, completing 73% of his passes with 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions, leading the Seahawks to their first 5-0 start in franchise history.

Unfortunately, Russ was uncharacteristically careless. Against the Cardinals, Bills, and Rams – all losses – Wilson turned the ball over a whopping 10 times. Seven interceptions and three lost fumbles over 3 games? That sounds like the work of Jameis Winston or Daniel Jones.

The past two games, Russ has been a lot like the Russ we’ve been used to. A superstar “game manager.” Don’t get upset about the label. Three touchdowns and no interceptions isn’t sexy, but a 76% completion percentage sure is efficient.

I wonder if we’ll see the MVP version of Russ again in 2020. Given some of the Seahawks defensive issues this season, they’ll need him.

Sure, the Hawks have made some progress on that side of the ball over the last two weeks. But they also slowed down Jared Goff, a hobbled Kyler Murray, and a hapless Eagles offense. Make no mistake about it. The strength of the 2020 Seahawks will always be its offense. And at some point – especially in the playoffs against teams like the Saints or Packers – they’ll need to regain that early season form.

I think injuries have played a role in their departure from dominance. Russell Wilson’s turnover streak came during a time where Seattle was without both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. And over the last two games, Seattle’s offensive line has been banged up. They were without Ethan Pocic against the Cardinals, forcing Damien Lewis to move to center on a short week. Brandon Shell couldn’t play Monday in Philadelphia, and likely won’t play Sunday against the Giants.

But that can’t be it, right? Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett are still healthy. That’s one of the league’s best quarterbacks with one of the league’s best wide receiver tandems. That aggressive, shock and awe offense should still be possible every week. Where has it gone?

My fear? It’s that the Seahawks were convinced that their old ways – an offense that went out of its way to establish balance – were a sounder strategy than “Letting Russ Cook.” That putting the whole weight of the offense on Russell’s shoulders is a recipe for more turnovers.

They might be right. But three more weeks against three struggling teams could be the perfect opportunity for the Seahawks to get back to their bombs away ways. And I’m hoping it starts Sunday against the Giants.

Follow Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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