Brock and Salk: Were Wilson’s comments on Seahawks’ roster OK?
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is known for being positive and using seemingly pre-prepared phrases when talking to the media about his team, but he offered some rather uncharacteristic comments while at the Pro Bowl about the upcoming offseason period and what Seattle needs to do.
“I think we need a couple more (big players). I think (defensive end Jadeveon Clowney) is a big-time guy that we’d love to get back,” Wilson said in an interview with ESPN last week when asked if the team had the right pieces in place for 2020. “He was so good in the locker room. He brought so many havoc plays on the field. Hopefully we can get a few other players there on the defense and also on offense. We have a great offense, but we can always add more pieces and I think that’s the part that’s going to be great with (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider and Pete as well in terms of this offseason’s free agency.
“Free agency is very, very key to get the superstars on your team and try to get great players who can fill the space. And then, the draft. We always do a great job in the draft and that’s going to be really important to get the young stars up and coming.”
The comments were surprising to Mike Salk and Brock Huard, as they discussed on the latest Brock and Salk Podcast.
“Who was that guy? That’s not Russell Wilson!” Salk said. “That can’t be Russ, he said actual things!”
“Bro, Russell Wilson’s saying we need a few pieces defensively,” Huard said.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 26, 2020
The Seahawks’ defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2019, struggling against the run, the pass and in generating sacks. Naturally, adding key players to that defense would be seen as a priority, which Wilson seems to be saying outright.
“That’s how I heard it, ‘Yeah, we need some stars on defense’ and, ‘Yeah, we can always get better on offense. Whatever. Make sure the defense isn’t what it was this year because we need some help there,'” Salk said.
The comments aren’t nearly as pointed or off-putting as some comments players have made about their current or former teams, but it was still shocking to hear them from Wilson.
“In eight years, we’ve never heard Russell say this,” Huard said. “Ever! He’s never done this!”
Salk was surprised by the comments, but doesn’t think what Wilson said was wrong or inappropriate.
“This guy looked around and watched this team this year and was like ‘OK, this is a 2-14 roster that I brought to the playoffs at 11-5 and won a game’ … Russell’s not blind,” Salk said. “He may not show it on his stoic face when he’s watching a game, but he’s not blind. He can see the fact that the defense is giving up yards and chunk yards and they’re giving up touchdowns and having problems in the red zone and can’t get off the field on third down.”
That was especially evident in the Seahawks’ playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. Done one possession with less than three minutes remaining, Seattle had the ball on third-and-5 and Wilson was sacked, making it fourth-and-11. Rather than going for it, the Seahawks punted and never got the ball back.
“He knows that he didn’t get a chance to go back and win the Green Bay game or at least tie it,” Salk said. “He knows that he had to watch (former Seahawks tight end) Jimmy Graham of all people catch that ball and roll over (backup safety) Lano Hill for a first down. Russell’s not blind. He’s just like anybody else who watched the game except he knows football a little better and so he pointed at it and said, ‘You know what we need is help on our defense. Go find it in free agency and the draft. Get me some stars.'”
Huard thinks the trade acquisitions of Clowney and safety Quandre Diggs, as well as the drafting of receiver DK Metcalf showed that when the Seahawks get elite athletes, Wilson and company have better chances to win.
“Just give me some players with legitimate upside and you saw it this year and the force that those three guys made,” Huard said. “It wasn’t just me (Wilson) taking a 2-14 roster (to the playoffs), those guys all had big-time years.”
Salk pointed to the two teams in the upcoming Super Bowl – Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers – as perhaps having the two best rosters in the NFL in terms of athletes and overall talent.
“It’s not just looking at his own roster, it’s looking at the two teams playing in Miami (for the Super Bowl) while (Wilson) was getting ready to play in Orlando (in the Pro Bowl) and saying, ‘hold on a minute, look what those guys have over there,'” he said.
Even though Wilson mentioned adding to the offense in his comments, Salk thinks Seattle needs to focus on its defense in free agency and the draft and that Wilson clearly feels the same way.
“He’s saying, ‘I’m doing everything I can. Give me whatever spare part you need on offense and I will make them great, but I cannot make the defense great,'” Salk said.
Huard noted that the Seahawks have reason to be cautious in making splash moves, as they’ve been burned before.
“The last time they took a legitimate risk and brought in superstars was Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham,” Huard said.
In those trades, Seattle traded first-round picks and more, such as starting center Max Unger in the Graham deal.
Salk thinks the sense of urgency needs to be there, especially given the layout of the NFC.
“If they have a few more (stars), they’re right there amongst the best teams in the NFC,” he said. “They weren’t that different from San Francisco this year, but they need more help on defense.”
Wilson and the Seahawks coaching staff was at the Pro Bowl this year, and Huard says it may have been a good thing that head coach Pete Carroll and his staff were surrounded by elite talent for the week.
“Not just to recruit (potential free agents) and be around it, but to be reminded (the importance of stars and difference makers),” he said.
Listen to the Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or watch it in the video below.