ESPN’s Bomani Jones: It’s ‘clear’ Seahawks QB Russell Wilson made a decision to be more vocal
The Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson have been the talk of the NFL world due to comments Wilson made about the amount of times he’s been sacked and hit during his nine-year NFL career. That has caused speculation that Wilson is unhappy in Seattle and may seek a trade.
Someone who has spent a lot of time covering Wilson is ESPN’s Bomani Jones, who had a radio show in North Carolina during Wilson’s college career at North Carolina State.
Jones joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning to talk about Wilson’s comments, something he also addressed in a recent episode of his podcast “The Right Time,” saying star quarterbacks shouldn’t have to ask for better protection. Jones delved into his point while talking to Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant.
“If you have a top-notch, top-of-the-line quarterback, you go get guys to protect him,” Jones said.
Wilson has been sacked 394 times in his regular season career, but he’s also been sacked a lot in the postseason. On top of that, Wilson has taken a lot of hits both while passing the ball and due to his decisions to run the ball.
Jones said when looking at quarterbacks breaking down over a lack of protection, people point to Andrew Luck, the 2012 No. 1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Luck and Wilson both entered the league in 2012, but Luck was one of the most hyped prospects in NFL history, unlike Wilson, who was a third-round pick. While Wilson is still going strong, Luck retired ahead of the 2019 season after suffering a ton of injuries, many of which came from being hit by opposing defenders.
Jones said the difference between Luck and Wilson when it comes to their teams’ respective offensive lines is that the Colts at least tried to regularly add well-regarded talent up front, something he believes the Seahawks haven’t done nearly as much.
“Outside of Duane Brown, I don’t really have anything I can point to that’s truly like the Seahawks really trying to get somebody up front, which seems to be strange to me because with the Seahawks, Pete (Carroll) wants to run the ball,” Jones said. “I’m one of the people who doesn’t have a problem with how Pete wants to run the ball, but running is more about your offensive line than it is about your running back. Like you’d have been better off… taking a lineman than taking (running back) Rashaad Penny (in the first round in 2018) when what you’re trying to do is run the ball.”
While Jones thinks Wilson isn’t wrong in his want for better protection, he agreed with Gallant that the protection was better in 2020 than you’d think and that Wilson should see how that group, which saw a promising rookie season from right guard Damien Lewis, continues to develop. What Jones is curious about, though, is what discussions between Wilson and the Seahawks’ front office have been like when it comes to the offensive line, because Wilson has never really offered much in interviews when it comes to his true thoughts on how the team is being constructed, nor has he gone public with complaints until recently.
“You guys, I imagine, have interviewed that dude,” Jones said to Danny and Gallant. “I have interviewed that dude. He don’t say nothing at all. … He walks into the interview with a plan. ‘These are the things that I’m going to say and I ain’t saying nothing else other than these things.'”
While Wilson has, in the past, typically stuck to a script of sorts in interviews, Jones feels his comments on The Dan Patrick Show last week were calculated even if Wilson didn’t appear to be fully on board with going public like he did.
“These interviews that he did, it was clear that he made the decision that we’re going to get this point across,” Jones said. “And it’s also clear in those interviews, by the way, he’s not terribly comfortable doing this. It’s not like he’s super flexing in order to make it happen. Dan Patrick had to walk him into doing it in order to get it done. So on some level he really wants these things, but what I don’t know that’s happening is when he’s gone to talk to the front office about these things.”
Jones believes that a key issue that’s nagging Wilson is how the Seahawks truly view him as a player. While Wilson started as a rookie, Jones said that was never the plan when he was drafted by Seattle, who had signed Matt Flynn to a three-year, $19 million contract that same offseason. Plus, Wilson went from a game manager early in his career who needed to only make so many plays due to a strong run game and elite defense, but now he piles up numbers impressive enough to get MVP consideration.
“He has a resume now that will get him into the Hall of Fame. And I wonder if he’s looking around like, ‘Do you still look at me as a third-round pick, or do you look at me as a future Hall of Famer,’ because typically future Hall of Famers don’t have to ask somebody to protect the highest-paid player on the team,” Jones said. “I wonder in all of this if for him, it is as much about anything else like, ‘Why aren’t you treating me in line with what my resume calls for?'”
Listen to the entire interview with Jones at this link or in the player below beginning around the 25:30 mark.