Russell Wilson Visiting Rams Will Give Seahawks Great Look at Future
Seattle travels to St. Louis to take on the Rams in an important early season NFC West clash. The Seahawks have won two straight games—including Monday night's thriller over the Green Bay Packers—after falling in the season opener to the Arizona Cardinals on the road.
Wilson has had brief moments of brilliance, but the third-round pick has also dealt with plenty of bumps and bruises to start his rookie season.
Through three games, Wilson has a 86.4 passer rating with 434 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 57.3 completion percentage. Good stats for a rookie quarterback by any measure, but the Seahawks have rarely asked Wilson to do much within the framework of the offense.
The Cardinals gave Wilson a rough start to his NFC West career in Week 1, holding the rookie to just 153 yards on 34 attempts as the Seahawks scored 16 points.
Wilson's best start came a week later, when he completed 15-of-20 passes and threw a touchdown in Seattle's 27-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Monday night, Wilson was up-and-down against the Packers. His first touchdown to Golden Tate was a perfectly thrown ball off playaction, but the Seahawks struggled on third down and Wilson completed just 47.6 percent of his passes. Wilson finished with just 130 yards passing.
As you'd expect from a rookie quarterback, the results have been mixed.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has done everything in his power to protect his young quarterback, leaning on running back Marshawn Lynch and a tough defense to lead the way. So far, so good.
Wilson threw 20 and 21 passes in the Seahawks' wins over the Cowboys and Packers, respectively. Lynch had over 20 carries in each game and the Seahawks defense averaged under 10 points over the two-game stretch.
That formula may be the winning one of the Seahawks in 2012, especially early while Wilson is learning the NFL game.
The game plan shouldn't be significantly different Sunday in St. Louis, but eventually Wilson will need to win a game for Seattle with his arm. He was only average in Arizona when the Seahawks needed to throw the ball more from a trailing position.
A strong Rams defensive line should also mean Wilson is again under pressure, and he's been one of the poorer quarterbacks under pressure this season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson has been under pressure on 44.6 percent of his drop backs this season, the second highest number in the NFL. He has completed under 45 percent of his passes under pressure.
Expect the Rams to play plenty of press-man coverage on the Seahawks receivers, while also bringing extra blitzers when Seattle is facing predictable passing situations. Eventually, Wilson will need to be the aggressor in those situations and make big plays down the field.
Overall, Wilson is still a work in progress.
Every week, we've learned something new about Seattle's rookie quarterback. Sunday's road game against an NFC West rival should provide another learning opportunity. A strong performance in St. Louis would be a promising sign for Wilson and the Seahawks.
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