R Wilson by receiver: Baldwin: 83.3%, 8.2 Y/A Graham: 78.3%, 7.6 Y/A Kearse: 80%, 11.8 Y/A Lockett: 83.3%, 9.1 Y/A NFL AVG: 63.6%, 7.3 Y/A— Jacs O'Lantern (@JacsonBevens) October 7, 2015
Wilson is effectively at or above his season YPA mark when throwing to his receiving corps, meaning there are other targets being used very inefficiently. Let's look at that RB hunch...
Wilson to Lynch, Rawls, Jackson: 25 targets, 17 receptions (68% catch rate), 134 yards, 5.4 YPA
Wilson to everyone else: 102 targets, 74 receptions (73% catch rate), 845 yards, 8.3 YPA
Wilson is not only throwing for more air yards, but he's more effective throwing to receivers downfield than he is when targeting his running backs. Also note that most of the RB production comes from Jackson, with Wilson only averaging 3.8 YPA on passes to Lynch and Rawls. This is a good indicator, mainly because Wilson has a track record of being very efficient when targeting Lynch and Turbin. This is probably something that will improve as the offensive line gains traction, the three new starters (hopefully) becoming familiar with new roles. Wilson had a 8.1 YPA mark when targeting Turbin and Lynch last season. If the RB passing game does get on track, we'll start seeing Wilson's overall efficiency rise significantly.
While Seattle's WR/TE group wasn't good enough last year, the additions of Lockett and Graham have his YPA up to elite levels when not targeting his backs. The excellent Sheil Kapadia noted the following after Seattle scraped by the winless Lions:
The sack number could have easily been 10 or 12 Monday night without Wilson's elusiveness. He was brilliant outside the pocket, and when he gets time, he's been very accurate. Wilson has completed 76.3 percent of his passes when he stays in the pocket. I think we're seeing him grow as a passer, but the results are a bit all over the place because of the struggles up front.
The OL is obviously the elephant in the room, though, as stated by Kapadia, Wilson does play a part in their struggle. Still, he's playing well from the pocket, the ball's heading downfield, and the receiving corps is capable. Overall, this is good. This is very good. Seattle will have this offensive line in 2015, yes, but the sack rate has tended to decline over the course of the season in recent years. They've figured things out just a bit toward December. The sacks also aren't a necessary evil with Wilson throwing further downfield, as the 2014 sack rate was comparable to that of the young quarterback's first two seasons.
Wilson's improvement is far more important than current OL struggles. He'll almost certainly be Seattle's quarterback for another decade, and the data shows that he's taken a step forward. There's no guarantee that this will continue, or that it's anything more than small sample size theater, but it matches the eye test, and he's certainly not been buoyed by an elite run game so far this year. He's playing well when given time, and he'll probably be given more time as the season goes along. Kindly place your "Russell Wilson: Only a Game Manager" narratives in the nearest incinerator, please and thank you.
While the Seattle passing offense DVOA ranks only 24th and the sack rate is well over 10%, things are somehow looking up for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks passing offense.
Both but I'd say it's more of the line right now.
As bad as they were at pass blocking they used to be solid in the run game. Now they're just bad at both