Bumpus: There’s nothing wrong with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s recent comments
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been the talk of the NFL world the last few days due to an apparent displeasure with aspects of the team.
Over the weekend, insiders from the NFL Network reported that teams were calling the Seahawks about Wilson’s availability via trade but that Seattle was not even considering parting ways with its star player. Then on Monday, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that Wilson and his camp were upset with the number of times he’s been hit and sacked in his career and that the team hasn’t done a good enough job protecting him.
On Tuesday, Wilson spoke to Dan Patrick and later to reporters, saying directly that he’s frustrated with “getting hit too much.” He also told Patrick that whether he’s available via trade is a “Seahawks question,” but that he wants to be with the team forever, has always put his trust in the organization and “hopefully that will continue.”
Many fans and analysts have taken exception to Wilson and his camp’s comments, seeing it as placing blame on others, namely the team’s offensive line. Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant both have said they don’t like how Wilson has gone about his business in recent days, but former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus doesn’t feel the same way. He explained why to Danny and Gallant on Wednesday morning.
“He’s put himself in a peculiar situation, and me personally, I’m OK with it,” Bumpus said of Wilson. “I know everyone’s saying, ‘You’ve got to protect your O-line, you can’t be the guy calling out your teammates.’ I don’t think he called out his teammates, I think he said what was real. This dude was sacked 48 times (in 2020)… That’s third in the league.”
Since entering the NFL in 2012, Wilson has been sacked 394 times in the regular season. He’s also been sacked 49 times in the playoffs and hit many more times on top of it. And while Wilson was sacked almost 50 times in 2020, quarterbacks of playoff teams were sacked far less. Bumpus pointed out that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked 20 times, Tom Brady of the Buccaneers was sacked 26 times, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs went down 32 times and Jared Goff, who was with the Rams until a recent offseason trade, was sacked only 23 times.
“These are elite teams, right? So to get over the hump, you’ve got to protect your quarterback,” Bumpus said.
Wilson said during his interview with Patrick that he is at fault for some of those sacks, which Bumpus agreed with. But Bumpus said that doesn’t change the fact that the team can find ways to protect him better going forward.
“That O-line has to do better, the play calling has to be better to help him get the ball out of his hands, and he has to be better,” he said. “He’s frustrated with being hit. He didn’t say, ‘My O-line is garbage, they’re allowing guys to get after me.’ I think it’s a bigger picture.”
That Goff was sacked only 23 times with the Rams in 2020 is important to note. The Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, was Los Angeles’ passing game coordinator the last three seasons and likely will bring aspects of that system to Seattle, which could help protect Wilson. Additionally, the Seahawks have two starting offensive linemen hitting free agency, so this offseason presents a chance to add better pieces up front.
“It’s going to take a lot of things to get this thing right. I don’t think he’s wrong, though,” Bumpus said. “People need to get out of their feelings. This is sports. You’re going to get critiqued publicly. And he’s a leader, (so) you’ve got to hold guys accountable as a leader. Some guys do it in different ways.”
Bumpus said that for his entire career, Wilson has been the guy who said all the right things in press conferences and didn’t really rock the boat. He’s glad Wilson is being “real” with these recent comments.
“I appreciate the realness and I think his offensive linemen, if you are a professional, you’re not taking it personally,” Bumpus said. “It’s facts. The man was sacked 48 times last year. He’s not making this up.”
O’Neil said he thinks roughly 20 of the 48 sacks in 2020 are Wilson’s fault, but Bumpus said the play calling likely played a big part in that.
“Look at these route concepts. Third-and-5, I’ve said it on this show a million times, (Wilson is looking) 10-15 yards down the field,” he said. “How is he being coached to read that play? He’s going high to low is what it looks like to me. He’s not looking for the checkdown or the quick (pass). It’s all about the coaching as well … There’s a lot of things to this. I ain’t mad at Russ.”
Gallant felt that Wilson was deflecting blame with his comments by saying that while he takes sacks at times, many of them are on plays he sometimes is able to extend to create big gains or even touchdowns. Bumpus said Wilson really didn’t dive into his thoughts in the interview with Patrick or in his press conference and that there’s also a possibility he misspoke, but that doesn’t change that what he said was factually correct and that people are making this situation a bigger deal than it really is.
“I don’t think he’s wrong here, though,” Bumpus said. “I think people need to toughen up. Everyone’s always hard on Russell Wilson. I’m going hard on everyone else now … This is football. You get critiqued publicly and he is speaking facts. If you don’t like it, so be it, there are other quarterbacks who lead in different ways.”
Later in the show, Bumpus said if Wilson feels he misspoke or that his comments are being misinterpreted, he will reach out to guys on the offensive line through a call or text. But Bumpus said he doesn’t see someone like veteran left tackle Duane Brown being “in his feelings” about the comments if he feels he played well.
“If you’re in your feelings on that offensive line (after seeing or hearing Wilson’s comments), you’re probably part of the problem,” Bumpus said.
You can hear Bumpus’ full discussion with Danny and Gallant in the podcast at this link or in the player below.