There are very few quarterbacks that can make throws like Russell Wilson. From his uncanny and timely ability to escape the pocket, all the way to the jaw-dropping flick that somehow drops into his receiver’s hands perfectly, Wilson gets it done. In 2019, he’s putting that all together and playing at an NFL MVP caliber level like he never has before, and that’s certainly saying something.
Wilson is no stranger to success and right out of the gate was more fortunate than the vast majority of quarterbacks in the league. Surrounded by an infectious culture led by Pete Carroll, a ground and pound approach with Marshawn Lynch, and an all-time type defense, Wilson was in good hands. Since being drafted in 2011, the Seattle Seahawks have tasted the playoffs seven of eight seasons including two super bowl appearances with one of them ending in a Lombardi trophy. But the days of having such a complete team are over with. Now more than ever, Wilson has to take complete command of the offense and is well on his way to his first NFL MVP.
Russell Wilson is the Midseason NFL MVP
Through the first eight games of the 2019 season, Wilson is playing nearly perfect as a passer. He has thrown just one interception while leading the league in touchdown passes with 17. Beyond that, his three fourth-quarter comebacks are the most as well. Tom Brady‘s 2017 MVP season, which also had him missing four games due to suspension, was arguably the most efficient ever. Brady tossed 28 touchdowns to just two picks, and Wilson is on a pace to surpass that. We all know projections never pan out as they’re seen in the long term, but it’s something to keep an eye on as the rest of the season unfolds.
Ground and Pound
Keep in mind, what’s allowing Wilson to be so productive through the air is the Seahawks’ dedication on the ground. The team is sixth in total rushing yards and fourth in attempts. His ability to be quick and nimble has allowed him to grab eleven first downs with his feet so far this season. Couple that with three rushing scores and you have one of the most versatile players in the NFL.
Of course, Russell Wilson wouldn’t be putting together an MVP type season without the help of some friends. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer took over the Seahawks’ play-calling last season and has done a great job of balancing the approach. Play-action, in particular, has been effective in Seattle. The team runs that concept about once in every three plays. Chris Carson isn’t exactly a household name at running back but has found a way to be productive enough. He’s averaging just over four yards per carry this season. The rookie sensation D.K. Metcalf has also proved to be just the downfield weapon Russell Wilson was looking for after the departure of Doug Baldwin.
Considering Other Contenders
The ‘most valuable player’ has always had a cloudy meaning. Is it the best player on one of the best teams, or is it the guy who if you removed from a team, they’d fall apart instantly? Either way, it’s a quarterback-driven league and that’s the way it has been. The league MVP has been a quarterback every year since 2012. The last non-quarterback to win it was Adrian Peterson when he returned from an ACL tear and tore up the league for over 2,000 yards rushing. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is on a pace that would surpass over 2,000 scrimmage yards and has an early case for MVP this season. He’s accounting for nearly half of the Panthers total offensive yards.
Over in Green Bay, future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is putting together quite the season after a slow start statistically. He’s led his team to a 7-1 start along with throwing 16 touchdowns to just two picks. But it’s the former fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin that has made his mark and leads this NFL MVP race. It isn’t out of nowhere either as Russell Wilson has been a smart, productive and athletic quarterback all this time. It’s just that now he’s reaching what we think could be his peak at 30 years old, or could there be more in store?
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