Five reasons "Flynn now, Wilson later" doesn't work for me

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  • I caught a lot of flak for advocating that Seattle draft Ryan Mallett a couple of years ago. We all agreed that a franchise QB was needed to push this team over the top, but we didn't agree on the timing. The thought was that the 2010 team was a disaster for a rookie QB and that more support - a stronger run game and a tough defense amongst them - was needed to protect him, keep him from having to do too much.

    And over time, I realized that those folks were right. A rookie QB before 2012 would not be walking into an ideal situation. Pete Carroll and John Schneider thought the same thing. (Not to mention Ryan Mallett being about as good a fit for Seattle as Pehawk for an Amish colony.) So I sat back and waited with everyone else as Pete - faster than even he expected - put together an elite defense and returned Seattle to the top of the NFL's rushing stats.

    Yet now that Pete has (largely) delivered that ideal supporting team and the rookie QB to grow on it, everyone's now saying "Nope, forget the rookie, I just want to win now."

    Wait, what? What happened to protecting our investment at QB? What happened to an ideal environment? Didn't everyone WANT this for a rookie? That run game and defense weren't just supposed to help us win, they were supposed to take pressure off the rookie. Now people want to bench Russell Wilson rather than let this prime opportunity accomplish its goal?

    I get that this team seems tantalizingly close to a championship run (though I don't get the underlying assumption that this run game and defense won't be here next year). But the strong team wasn't intended to support a benched QB. The idea was that the QB prospect would carry a smaller workload thanks to the run game drawing attention and the defense keeping scores lower. Are we going back on that now that we have Matt Flynn around?

    People show a lot of urgency in saying that we should let Flynn carry us for now while Wilson develops. Once I distilled my thoughts into discrete disagreements, I found I had five major ones.


    1. I don't think Flynn will do any better. This argument is underway in 5,471 other threads, so I won't drag it in here. Besides, there are other concerns.


    2. The run game and defense aren't going anywhere. This stuff isn't just a bandaid for lack of a Drew Brees; it's central to Pete's philosophy. He didn't build it to last one year and then collapse. He'll keep it going. There are plenty of models all over the league for effectively reloading a defense (Pittsburgh and Baltimore are great examples).


    3. We do NOT have all the pieces to win now. Everyone keeps saying we do, but I never saw it and I still don't. Our O-line isn't built to pass-protect, at all. This wasn't a problem for anybody a month ago, until they remembered that a QB can't be running all the time and started bashing Wilson for doing so. (Bevell, for his part, has seemingly forgotten about the existence of bootlegs, rollouts, and general movement-QB plays).

    Receiver situation, same issue. This might be a good group for a developed QB, or for a Wilson with four years under his belt, but a rookie simply needs much more help. We have a nice #2 WR in Sidney Rice, a #2 TE in Zach Miller, and...that's pretty much it. Nobody else approaches the status of field-stretching true #1 WR, security blanket TE, or general quarterback-helpers. Edwards, Obomanu, and Tate are the kind of guys to benefit from a superstar, not benefit a superstar. This receiving corps needs further development, probably reloading, before I'd look at this roster and say all the pieces are in place. It badly needs a Larry Fitzgerald, a Vernon Davis, or an A.J. Green.

    And in the end, the most importance piece of "winning now" is the QB himself, so once again we're back to Argument #1.


    4. Neither Flynn nor Wilson is the type of QB to develop from the bench. Neither is the second coming of Peyton Manning; both will be heavily dependent on scheme and surrounding talent all their careers. Flynn will need solid pass protection and precise timing receivers; Wilson will need solid pass protection and speedy, improvisational clutch catchers. Each QB needs a different crew.

    No matter which QB Seattle picks, if they really want either one to become anything, they need to commit to him - play him, believe in him, scheme him, give him the right WR's. Either that or get rid of both and draft a #1 who's immediately ready, which isn't any easier a proposition.

    So once again, it goes back to Argument #1.

    And finally...


    5. Nobody's actually going to want a 28-year-old playoff QB benched when decision time arrives. If it were an over-the-hill veteran like Hasselbeck or Favre, then sure. But people see Matt Flynn as another young-Hasselbeck situation...a finished product and an immediate solution. (Whether that's true or not is, yet again, Argument #1.)

    Let's say for the sake of argument that Seattle starts Flynn and goes deep into the playoffs with him, if not further. What exactly will be so different next year? What will make people suddenly predisposed to Wilson then? A deep playoff run will convince precisely zero people to sit the QB involved and start a rookie, especially a rookie that requires heavy scheming. Fans are conservative and want the bird in the hand. The cries for Flynn will only strengthen, and Wilson will become simple trade bait in the fans' eyes.

    And if you DO think we'd somehow be more favorable to letting Wilson start over Flynn in 2013 and suffering his growing pains - what's wrong with letting that be THIS year? It needs to happen eventually (unless Flynn is gold, which AGAIN goes back to #1). Rookies rarely dazzle right away. We're just putting off the inevitable by delaying Wilson's development until next year, at which time we'll be wasting THAT season and its defense and run game.

    Developing a QB isn't "wasting a season". It's preparing for years of contention, another phase of the rebuild. Nobody was calling it "wasting a season" during the last two years when our talent was clearly not playoff-ready. Well, this year, the quarterback is part of that talent that still needs growth, and our offensive talent is still developing/being found. So it shouldn't be "we're blowing an opportunity", anymore than 2010 or 2011 was. It's "we're not ready yet".

    What would really be blowing the season would be PC bowing to fan pressure and switching to Flynn after a perfectly acceptable 3-2 record (which some people seem suspiciously determined to downplay and dismiss), only to find out that hey, Flynn's performance falls exactly in line with the implications of Carroll's decision to start Wilson to begin with. THEN we'll have lost valuable games over an experiment that seemed foregone in the first place and was largely spurred on by pure impatience.



    "Save the season and let Flynn win now. Maybe Wilson will be ready for us later." That's the popular sentiment, but it strikes me as kinda hollow. It's probably not going to work like that either way. It keeps coming back to this question: which QB is the better gamble as QBOTF? It's either one or the other.

    But it's not fair to call developing a rookie QB "punting a season". It's also not fair to expect a franchise QB from someone who hasn't been given the time and the offense to succeed. Rarely can you find an immediate silver bullet; rarely can you separate a successful QB's talent from his scheme and growth. Either commit the time and resources to support a QB (which Seattle has done at the request of its fan base) and then equip him (which we haven't yet done completely), or don't draft a guy at all. There's really no way around that for me.
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  • the biggest issue I think is how people believe that Flynn is a better quarterback because he sat on the sidelines for several years, and Wilson will improve by sitting on the sidelines.

    Whereas I can think of few QBs who have sat for several years and come in and CONSISTENTLY won.
    For all we know about Flynn right now is he's a Matt Cassell.2 in the making, there's a QB with an 11 win season in his first year of a starter. Because he played for a good team.

    People point to Aaron Rodgers as an example of "why it's good to sit a QB", when he's a guy who people were debating whether or not he should be first overall pick for a long long time, and who, bu falling to 22nd overall in the draft shocked many people. A guy who sat for 3 years because Green Bay had the luxury of a first ballot Hall of Famer in the starting position.

    QBs get better by playing games, and sitting a QB who is playing badly is usually a message to say "you're not doing your best, you can try harder". Is that really the case with Russell Wilson? A guy who outworks every single player in the team, and is getting a reputation for being one of the hardest working players in the LEAGUE, he won't learn anything from sitting that he isn't learning already, and the biggest asset for improving QBs is gametime.

    This is a perfect opportunity for a rookie to come into, he has all the pieces in place around him to help us win games whilst allowing for those rookie mistakes that he's going to make regardless of WHEN he eventually starts, and for those that think that means mailing in the season, even Tarvaris Jackson looked a much better player after about 8-10 games last year (and IMO still gets unfairly criticised on this site), which isn't surprising considering he only had 20 starts before joining the Hawks. It's amazing what just playing games can do for developing a QB, and the same argument rings true for Wilson now as it did for Jackson last year - everyone said "he's been in the league 6 years, he should have got it by now". Sitting on the sidelines will help you develop as a player, but not anywhere near as much as playing games. If that was the case, a player like Charlie Whitehurst, with prototypical size, arm strength and decent accuracy should be an excellent player. We know that's not so, though I don't doubt that with a season of starts, Whitehurst would be a serviceable backup QB (something he isn't right now).


    I postulate that by the time we come back from the bye week, Wilson will be playing as an above average QB. Whilst the next 2 games will be quite difficult, I would be very surprised if we don't come out of the bye week at the very least 5-5 (i reckon we should be 6-4, however), and with our 3 toughest opponents in the final stretch divisional rivals (all at CLink), double digit wins should be within sight.
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  • You know, I think we all thought our running game wasn't going anywhere between 2005 and 2006 season either...

    I am a Flynn guy, but also back Wilson in spirit, because frankly, he's the QB for my favorite team.

    That said, the whole wedge issue exists because of PC. No matter who he picked in this competition, there was SURE to be a contingent of fans tail-gunning the other guy. What do you expect when you get people excited about 2-3 different QBs at the same time?

    Ultimately, that is where the blame lays for me. I will get slayed on here for saying it, but I personally don't like Carroll as HC of this team. But that...is like...MY OPINION, MAN....
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  • My only complaint in this entire Wilson deal is, if we are going to invest this year and do as well as we can while letting him learn by doing, then just WHEN do we actually let him start to just go PLAY. Screw the mistakes. If he really only does make a mistake once, we should open things up and let him work his way thru as many mistakes as we can.

    Our D is probably good enough to overcome most of them.

    I would also compare our team this year to the Pats the year Brady went down and Cassell had to come in. They went 11-5. They did however give away a couple games before they figured out Cassell was a much better passer from the gun then under center, like Wilson. They said screw it, threw away all their play action from under center, went shotgun, adapted their run game and played to Cassell's strength.

    With Lynch, that would be hard to swallow. We would marginalize one guy for another. We need to try to strike a balance somewhere there.
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  • good points. What get's me fired up as I listen to Softy and others is that they say it's a huge "gamble" starting Wilson. To me this is nonsense. How is it a gamble, if your other option is just as unproven? A gamble would be letting Favre walk for Rodgers as GB did-- Favre was a known quality and a productive player, whereas Rodgers was the bright unproven talent. That was a "gamble." Both players are unproven, so I don't think it's that much of a gamble. Furthermore, the most relavant data PC has, is what he's seen from OTA's, training camp and preseason. It is from that data he determined who the starter was. Who are we to argue the choice when that decision was based off all the variables which was as fans simply don't access to.

    As of this moment Wilson has started more games, won more games (3-2, vs 1-1 or 1-2 if you include the detriot 2010 game), and is within 10 attempts from surpassing Flynn's 4 years of experience. Meaning the notion of "Start Flynn he's got more experience." That 'experience' edge is erroding quickly. I like what I'm seeing from RW, I think we'll continue to see him progress.
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    Flynn Att-132, comp- 82, comp%=62.12%, Yards= 1,015, YPA-7.69, TD=9, INT= 5, Sack= 13, 92.8 Rating, 19 yards rush, 1 TD, 3 fumb
    Wilson Att-125, comp- 79, comp%= 63.2%, Yards= 815, YPA- 6.52, TD=5, INT= 6, Sack= 10, 75.2 Rating, 92 yards rush, 0 TD, 1 fumb
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  • seedhawk wrote:My only complaint in this entire Wilson deal is, if we are going to invest this year and do as well as we can while letting him learn by doing, then just WHEN do we actually let him start to just go PLAY. Screw the mistakes. If he really only does make a mistake once, we should open things up and let him work his way thru as many mistakes as we can.


    I agree, but we're only five games in. I think Sunday we saw PC/Bevell starting to allow Wilson some risks. Good time to do it, against a middle-of-the-road pass defense. New England's is of similar quality per DVOA.

    In 2010, PC took the training wheels off of Hasselbeck after about eight games (and was promptly rewarded with a flurry of interceptions).
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  • That's a corker of a post, Montana.
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  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:
    seedhawk wrote:My only complaint in this entire Wilson deal is, if we are going to invest this year and do as well as we can while letting him learn by doing, then just WHEN do we actually let him start to just go PLAY. Screw the mistakes. If he really only does make a mistake once, we should open things up and let him work his way thru as many mistakes as we can.


    I agree, but we're only five games in. I think Sunday we saw PC/Bevell starting to allow Wilson some risks. Good time to do it, against a middle-of-the-road pass defense. New England's is of similar quality per DVOA.

    In 2010, PC took the training wheels off of Hasselbeck after about eight games (and was promptly rewarded with a flurry of interceptions).


    True, but Wilson does not have to "unlearn" Holmgren's coaching. :P
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  • Great post. Cant argue with any of that logic. Nicely done.
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  • Great post!!
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  • Russell for the win!

    Flynn has got some heroic moments under his belt, but Wilson is special.

    Just give Russ some time to get 'up to speed'.
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  • Great post Montana. I blame it on a couple factors, not the least of which is the relative impatience of people. But I think a few more factors into it. 1 is that people are loathe to credit Pete Carroll for any type of offensive insight. Now, some skepticism is certainly allowable and even necessary so we don't develop pure homer glasses, but as long as it comes with a decent amount of humility. Carroll has been laying the groundwork piece by piece, mostly focusing on the defense to this point and picking up offensive players where possible.

    Because of this skepticism (and some, such as me, would say, contrarianism), it's sort of fashionable to second guess everything Carroll is trying to do on offense when we really haven't seen him try to build the offense in the same way as the defense was built - through the draft. Russell Wilson is part of that philosophy, but it seems to go unrecognized, and if Wilson succeeds this year, he then puts the offensive draft picks next year in a better position to succeed. But it takes a long term view of things and a level of trust in the coaching staff which most people still view through the lens of "started Tarvaris Jackson over re-signing Matt Hasselbeck." Which, in hindsight, was brilliant, because it deflected a lot of the post Hasselbeck hate from a rookie.
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  • I agree with the original post. Gotta make a choice and stick with it. Pete knew the importance of the situation this pre-season.
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  • Right now i have resigned myself too this is are rookie learning his lumps year. I argee with what montana is saying and feel that its something we have been dying for. And now that we have it we are shooting are selfs in the foot as fans. So far on offense i have been sceptical. We went from matt who we all love. To Tjack who most of us hated me too just ask throwdown. But we have been asking for a QBOTF. And now that we have been presented with one we want him benched for a ok qb.


    If u look at hall of fame qbs also first rounders. But still rookie qbs look at there first years. They all seemed to be crap. The likes of elway, aikman, manning both of them and more. You will see there first years were utter disasters. Yes they where are worse teams then we have here. But also we set up are rookie with a decent Oline and some recievers. A beast of a running back and a system he is familar with. Is he going to be the best NO not yet. Will it come in time i believe soo as he works so hard. The bottomline is give the kid a year or two. Most good to awesome qbs had to take there lumps in the first 2 years and we are no different.
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  • hawkcrazzed wrote:But we have been asking for a QBOTF. And now that we have been presented with one we want him benched for a ok qb.


    *I thought we had two threads about this topic, they're going fine.

    This is what's amazing, outside of Seattle-centric and this forum who in the heck said we , for sure, have our QBOTF here? A short of stature rookie who has had such little time in this league? One near 5 in so far and the one unproductive product on this current ball club?

    Can we agree to at least say "possible QBOTF" please? Or have we already bypassed experience and time in heading straight for the awards ceremony?
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  • He is the closest thing to a QBOTF. Why not call him that. He works as hard as anybody. The only thing holding him back in peoples minds is the damn tape measure. Well guess what i will take a guy a little short of stature and works his butt off. As opposed too a guy that is a giant but only does what is required no more no less. Cause at the end of the day the short guy will win out with work ethic.
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  • I support every facet of this post. Very well done.
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  • You make some great points but a lot your points, go back to point #1 which is the fundamental flaw of the whole argument. If this was factually true, then the rest of your argument holds water, and can be argued for ANY QB they decide to start. But there has not been real evidence to support this case. Not in the stats, not in the eye test, and certainly not in the 3-2 record, which means little given the other factors. So it's only an opinion.

    It is also in the opinion of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy that Flynn is a top 15 QB in this league. Even if they were wrong, and he were a top 20 or top 25 QB, he would still be better than Wilson at this point. Wilson is 27th in QB rating in 5 games, and 30th in QBR. Those are the facts, and factually Wilson has not been the golden child everyone had hoped for. So to automatically annoint him the franchise QBOTF based on intangibles when we really don't know, is the fallacy in all this. I'm not saying Flynn is QBOTF either because we really don't know, but people's concern that we may be squandering a great opportunity, or worse, making the wrong choice for this team, is very valid.

    If we're a year away, we're a year away. But I say this team is ripe right now with the way our #1 defense and top 3 running game is playing. We don't need a great passing attack, but we need one that is at least top 20. Just imagine if we had one that was top 15.

    Wilson is a huge gamble and could be the next Hall of Famer, or he could be the next Alex Smith, in 8 years. Unfortunately we don't have that time to find out. When there's any window at all, you play to win now.

    If this is not the year, like you say, and it's more important to invest in the future, then it really doesn't matter who starts this year. Use this year to find out what we have, and not be so stuck on any one choice, one way or the other. Team before player, imo.
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  • Best post ever for you Mr. Monty
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  • very valid points, i was on board with building the team before starting a rookie so I'm going to remember this and be a little more patient with Wilson. He is a Rookie and I have to trust he is our QBOTF. Still going to wait before I buy a Wilson jersey but I'm rooting for the guy to show how special he is consistently.
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  • Well, I only have a problem with 1 of your points:

    Miller is a #2 TE, and Rice is a #2 WR.

    Rice flourished with the right QB and scheme and was truly a #1 WR with that type of impact. He could be here as well since Minnesota had a dangerous run game and used deadly play action, and TEs down the seam to help out the WRs. We do the same thing. He's had terrible QBs throwing to him, and he's been hurt a lot, which does hurt his status. WHEN HEALTHY, he can be that #1 guy.

    Miller is a top tier TE, as evidenced by Pete and John paying for him. They don't overpay for anybody. He was a top 3 TE in Oakland's offense with Jason Campbell throwing to him. As good as a receiver as he is, he's an even better blocker. Jackson had no idea what a TE even was, and Miller stayed in to block for a horrible OL, and never complained. I couldn't tell you if Wilson couldn't see a TE, or if Bevell hasn't schemed Miller going downfield, but he's smart enough to find the holes in the zone, and fast enough to gain separation from LBers consistently.

    Tate is also getting consistent separation, so while people want to throw our WR corps under the bus, it can just easily be the QB. People are going to blame the players they don't like first.....i you're a Wilson supporter, it just HAS to be the WRs, right ?

    Flynn may not be the answer, but he's shown a few things in his 2 NFL starts that Wilson has struggled with, and it's my opinion that they are things that would really mesh well with our team: he can throw his WRs open (cuz hey, they struggle to get separation, right?), he makes superior pregame adjusments...yea he had better WRs in GB, but it was a more complicated offense and he had it mastered, and he reads the defense well and gets rid of the ball quickly. No, he's not as mobile as Wilson, but accurate short passes can defeat even our elite pass rush, as we've seen. I'm behind Wilson, he seriously has that IT factor. Flynn also has an eerie poise for the few games he's played. I'm just intrigued and curious as to what Flynn could've done.
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  • I don't agree at all saying we're not ready to win.

    There's not a team in the league that gives up less than 20 points every game that isn't ready to win. We're not going to win this thing by starting Flynn. I'm not ready to start over 5 games in. However, I am ready to open up this damn offense and take some chances. I trust our defense to stop them most of the time.
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  • hoxrox wrote:You make some great points but a lot your points, go back to point #1 which is the fundamental flaw of the whole argument. If this was factually true, then the rest of your argument holds water, and can be argued for ANY QB they decide to start.


    This is very true, Hoxrox, and is basically exactly what I was getting at. The whole thing stands or falls on which QB is the worthier long-term gamble.

    But while this season is still somewhat of a testing ground, I still find it tremendously important to start developing a QB now. Those guys take forever to build up. IMO, the QB competition ended in the preseason and rightfully so.
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  • Hawks46 wrote:Well, I only have a problem with 1 of your points:

    Miller is a #2 TE, and Rice is a #2 WR.

    Rice flourished with the right QB and scheme and was truly a #1 WR with that type of impact. He could be here as well since Minnesota had a dangerous run game and used deadly play action, and TEs down the seam to help out the WRs. We do the same thing. He's had terrible QBs throwing to him, and he's been hurt a lot, which does hurt his status. WHEN HEALTHY, he can be that #1 guy.


    You might be right. I actually missed the first half of the Carolina game; after watching it, I liked some of the plays I saw from Rice. He needs to keep that up, because this offense would be helped tremendously by an aggressive, physical clutch guy who will outrace and outmuscle defenders and find ways to catch footballs thrown even just in his general vicinity. Would demand extra coverage and open things up. Huge influence on the offense.

    In general, too much spottiness across the entire roster. Edwards, Obomanu, and Martin are basically sucking roster spots dry right now. I don't know if they're just not getting open or not giving effort (Obo has seemed lazy at times) or not being seen by Wilson, but every WR who's not doing his job is another person that Wilson can't trust.

    For example, on the pick-6 by Wilson vs CAR, Anthony McCoy ran an awful route. Rounded off his deep out like it was made of sandpaper. He could have gained at least two yards of separation by making ANY kind of sudden cut, but he didn't. Wilson was still 100% at fault for the throw (covered WR + thrown to inside shoulder = disaster), but McCoy did nothing to help.
    Last edited by MontanaHawk05 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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  • SonicHawk wrote:However, I am ready to open up this damn offense and take some chances. I trust our defense to stop them most of the time.


    Well, hell yes. I think we saw that happen Sunday. Wilson and his boys needed a break from elite defenses to work things out on the field and build some chemistry. Might continue against New England (23rd against the pass per DVOA).
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  • I liked all your reasons, Brandon, and here is why they don't matter. Most of the people who want Flynn to start do not have a tangible attachment to the guy. They truly think Pete doesn't know what he is doing on offense, that his competition is a joke, and they have some very conventional football reasons for thinking Wilson is all wrong. Flynn is just a convenient tool for their argument, they have no idea if he will be a game changer.
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    Scottemojo
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  • Hawks46 wrote:Tate is also getting consistent separation, so while people want to throw our WR corps under the bus, it can just easily be the QB. People are going to blame the players they don't like first.....i you're a Wilson supporter, it just HAS to be the WRs, right ?


    This is the only part of your post that I can say anything disparaging about. There have been a couple of analysts who have broken down plays that Tate was open, but ran the wrong route. It is imperative for every QB, but especially one who is not tall enough to see over the linemen, for the receiver to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. If Tate had the separation when and where he was supposed to be, I'd suggest that Wilson would get him the ball.
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    BASF
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  • If Wilson were 6 foot 3 then I think there wouldn't be any debate.

    We just don't want to waste a season on a guy who has very long odds of making it.

    If it were Andrew Luck or RG3 out there struggling I think the fan base would be patient.

    I hope this kid makes it, otherwise we are starting over once again.
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