On the surface, Russell Wilson had a fairly solid game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. He completed 75 percent of his passes for 235 yards and had a beautiful 43-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett just before halftime. But he also made some questionable throws and had two awful interceptions.
What do we make of Wilson’s performance? To find out, CBS Sports Radio enlisted the help of the de facto president of the Russell Wilson Fan Club, Mike Freeman.
“There’s two main things to unpack here,” the Bleacher Report NFL columnist said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “No. 1, if the offensive line is just playing horrible. They got rid of a good interior line player and some of these guys. The Seattle front office isn’t a total analytics front office – not really, but they are somewhat. And you see what happens in football when you get rid of a key guy. Sometimes when this happens, it turns into a mess – and people say, ‘It’s just a guard’ or ‘It’s just a center.’ Sometimes those guys matter a lot because they’re big in the locker rom. They’re big in a crisis. They help provide chemistry. You get rid of key guys like that and sometimes this will happen.
“The other thing is, No. 2, you bring in Jimmy Graham,” Freeman continued. “They’ve completely screwed up how to use him. That’s a part of this, too. A lot of this really is on the offensive coordinator, (Darrell) Bevell, because when Jimmy Graham was in New Orleans – Sean Payton is one of the best offensive minds of his generation. He really is. He’s fantastic. He knew what to do with him. They knew how to get him open. They did have Drew Brees, who’s a very accurate passer, no question. But it’s more about the coordinators. He switched from a coordinator that knew exactly how to use him and went to one who didn’t – and you see the results. All these things are sort of combining to produce what is a bit of a mess of an offensive line. I don’t think it was on Russell Wilson. He has made some bad throws. Also tonight he made a couple really horrible throws. There’s no defending that. But he’s also running for his life almost every play.”
Indeed, the Seahawks are struggling to run the ball because they don’t have a tight end who can block, and they’re struggling to utilize Graham in the passing game because the line can’t protect Wilson.
That’s not a double-edged sword. That’s just a sword. And so far this season, it’s killing the Seahawks.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are suffering death by a thousands Colin Kaepernicks. The franchise quarterback was horrendous Thursday, mustering just 124 yards and getting sacked six times. The Niners punted on nine of their 11 possessions – seven of the three-and-out variety.
Will Kaepernick be the Niners’ starting quarterback next season?
“I don’t know,” Freeman said. “If you look at this Niners’ team, I don’t know if the head coach will be back. I don’t know if the quarterback will be back. This sort of speaks to what we’re speaking about with players. You also sometimes see the same thing with coaches. Harbaugh was just, I think he started to lose the locker room. I think they started to hate Harbaugh, which will happen with him. But at the same time, you see his value. He’s able to make things work. He’s smart. He drives people. He gets the most out of people. And then you bring in a guy who basically the locker room sees as the hand-picked guy of the owners who they think ownership is going to control. . . . You can’t fool players. But Kaepernick, it’s possible he’s back because if a new coach comes in, Kaepernick is so talented that it’s one of those deals where a guy says, ‘I can make this guy work.’ So maybe he’s back, but there may just be wholesale change out there.”