As Russell Wilson enters his 10th year as starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, he looks to bounce back from what some called a disappointing 2020-21 season. In recent years Wilson has started strong out of the gates, but eventually returned to the pack and ended the season short of his and the team’s ultimate goal. For the team, that goal is making it back to the Super Bowl — where the Seahawks haven’t been since Wilson’s third year in the NFL.
For Wilson, there is also another goal. That goal is to become the league’s MVP. First, for the sake of Seattle’s playoff hopes, Wilson needs to play at an MVP level through the entire season. After starting last season off 5-0 and throwing 19 touchdowns to 3 interceptions, Wilson and the Seahawks went just 3-4 over the next seven games. During this seven-game stretch, Wilson threw just 13 TDs and 8 INTs.
Wilson’s midseason woes shouldn’t fall entirely on his shoulders. The team has struggled to generate much of a run game since the Seahawks have gone away from running the ball and placed the offensive load in Wilson’s lap. From 2015-17, no Seattle ball carrier rushed for more than 830 yards in a season. In the previous four years, Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode) averaged 1,339 yards per season. That helped them achieve back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, winning one.
Recently, the popular thing for the 12th man to shout is “let Russ cook.” Pete Carroll finally gave in and let Russ cook. But since then, all that Seattle home cooking hasn’t landed Carroll’s Seahawks in the bowl they’d like it to. Since losing the Super Bowl in 2014-15 to the New England Patriots, the Seahawks haven’t played in the NFC championship game one time. Forget the Super Bowl; to get there you’ve got to get back to the conference championship first.
In the last four years, Wilson has thrown at least 31 TD passes each season. He topped 30 TD passes just once in his first five years of NFL service. Sure, Russ wants to win an MVP as most QBs would like to do in the NFL. But even coach Carroll and his staff must have noticed the team’s overall production has gone the opposite direction since they agreed to let Russ cook. Having that goal of winning an MVP award for Wilson is excellent, but him slinging the ball all over the field isn’t necessarily what’s best for this team. You can have a balanced offense and still find a way for Russ to be included in the MVP race at the end of the season. Passing for more than 30 TDs seems to be a prerequisite for even entering the MVP conversation.
We know Wilson can hit the magic marker for TD passes and then some. Last year, he threw 40 for the first time. Now it’s on Carroll and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to reintroduce a level of balance we haven’t seen in Seattle in a while. The Seahawks have also had trouble keeping their running backs upright for full seasons as well. So that has also been a factor when it comes to them producing a balanced offensive attack. As recent as 2018 & 2019, the Seahawks produced 1,000 plus yard rushers and had Wilson throw for 30 plus TDs in both seasons. So, it can be done, but a healthy backfield will be vital in contributing to this.
Being voted MVP is an outstanding achievement on any level. But it isn’t the end all be all. Names like Drew Brees, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, and Roger Staubach are among all-time great QBs to never win the MVP award. For now, Wilson is part of this group of legends. It’s not a bad group to be included in, if you ask me. And if Russ should fail to win league MVP honors before he retires, he’ll be in great company heading into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.