Russell Wilson is the Seattle Seahawk offense. It’s as simple as that.
First things first: Contain perimeter around the pocket
The Jacksonville Jaguars did a great job forcing Wilson out of the pocket last Sunday. It isn’t all that difficult to do when the offensive line, well, sucks. But forcing him from the pocket is just half the battle. If anything, that’s when the real work begins.
There were two instances where the Jaguars eroded the pocket and ended up with two different results.
1 & 10 on the SEA 9
The LE Yannick Ngakoue bull-rushes the right tackle and drives him back, but in doing so, closes off the opening in the line so Wilson has nowhere to go. So, Wilson is forced to make a bad throw to his right to the running back, which results in an incomplete pass.
3&9 on the SEA 10
This time, Ngakoue tries to go around the tackle, but is cut off and pushed out of the way, opening up a window for Wilson to take and gain 11 yards.
Like a shark, Wilson is always moving because if he stops, he dies. His line is too poor to give him a clean pocket long enough for him to scan the field and make a good throw standing straight. If the defensive line is pushed outside their pursuit on the pass-rush, where the offensive lineman uses their momentum and guides them past the quarterback, Wilson is going to break off a solid gain.
This is one of the plays the Seahawks run so well.
Even when the Jaguars were more prepared the second time around Wilson ran on the bootleg, he still gets it done.
What’s great (or frightening, depending on how you look at it as a Rams fan) is the bootleg allows the receivers some wiggle-room out of the gate because most of the defense can be seen following where they think the play is going.
On this play, the receiver stretches the field and takes the safety out of the play, allowing the tight end to have open space. By the time the linebackers see what’s happening, the tight end is about to catch a pass.
It takes a village
The talk all week has been RAMS PASS RUSH VS RUSSELL WILSON. The emphasis should be on THE RAMS ENTIRE DEFENSE VS RUSSELL WILSON. The pass-rush alone cannot clamp Wilson down, clearly. Every level of the defense needs to do their job in order to shut Wilson down.
The Jags pass-defense was great last week. They cloaked the Seattle receivers for most of the game, and forced Wilson to make poor and desperate throws. He finished the game completing 54 percent of his passes and three interceptions.
When the Seahawks got into the red-zone, Wilson and the offense couldn’t put together a touchdown. Again, the Jaguars defense was firing on all cylinders, leaving Wilson with nothing.
Wilson is a great quarterback with brass balls. He’s not afraid to make the difficult throws and he’s comfortable with being uncomfortable.
He’s also patient. Throughout the Jaguars game, Wilson scrambled around the backfield on most of his throws just waiting for something—anything—to open up. If he gets even the slightest look that something is open or will open, Wilson is taking it.
This was an incomplete pass, but it shows the kind of risks Wilson is not afraid to take. This was even before the 4th quarter, when he was taking big throws to catchup.
This play blew my freaking mind. Wilson throws to WR Doug Baldwin when he’s got a linebacker and a safety on top of him, and Wilson makes the throw anyway. Granted, he didn’t have anything better, but he certainly didn’t have anything worse than that.
Wilson is letting go of the ball when Baldwin is barely ahead of the linebacker.
This is what will kill the Rams if their pass-defense is caught sleeping. Jacksonville wasn’t caught off guard for most of the game. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that they started letting big passing touchdowns slip past them (prevent defense and lackadaisical one-on-one coverage).
Wilson likes to hit the homeruns, even when he doesn’t have to. A few times, Wilson either didn’t see or didn’t take advantage of a smaller gain and went for it all. On his first interception of the Jags game, Wilson went for the touchdown on first down. On his second interception, Wilson bypassed making a solid gain with his legs for an on-the-run deep-pass. But the pass hung too long, and allowed the corner to catch up to the Wilson’s tight end, and he made the interception.
The Rams can contain Wilson, but only if they stay alert and do their job at every level of their defense.