Every so often the staff of the Footbawl Blog likes to sit around a metaphorical round table and shoot the shit about a particular issue. Today they are discussing who should be the offensive rookie of the year.
Chris Dorsey: Ok, so now everyone in the world has hopped aboard the Russ Wilson bandwagon. Three weeks ago RGIII was the hot ticket. All of my co-writers were probably really into Zima for a six-month period in the 90’s, too. My vote still goes to Andrew Luck. Even after the draft, there wasn’t a single analyst or non-crazed fan that didn’t have the Colts dry-heaving through the season with four or five wins at best. Rebuilding time. Aside from Reggie Wayne, the Colts’ supporting cast is fantastically mediocre. Vick Ballard? Donnie Avery? Two rookie tight ends and a defense lingering in the bottom 25% of the league? And yet here sits the team at 10-5, guaranteed a playoff slot while sharing a division with a 12-3 team. The litmus test to me is the same as when looking at MVP candidates. If you take the guy off your roster, how does your team do? The Redskins won with Kirk Cousins, the Seahawks’ high-scoring defense coupled with Marshawn Lynch would have been good for six or seven wins on their own. The Colts, though? Remember how this team looked last year in the hands of Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. Luck has 100% carried them and has thus earned my little-coveted endorsement.
Joe Schmidt: Nonsense. Pish posh. Poppycock. CRAZY. TALK. It’s the only response I have, due to the distinct lack of Russell Wilson praise so far. I mean, how can we even have this discussion without mentioning him?
I got to watch Andrew Luck play in person, and the guy has an ability to keep a play alive and make something happen between whistles. It’s why the Colts continue to win the closest games. And Bobby Tree (how many nicknames are we up to now, in this piece alone?) has been keeping me interested throughout the season. My expectations of his play were nothing short of lofty, and he’s still impressing.
But goddamn, Russell Wilson is doing something special in Seattle. There’s no argument that he’s being supported by the strength of his defense, the offensive line, and even Marshawn Lynch. But Seattle wouldn’t be in this same position, blowing out playoff teams, with Tarvaris Jackson under center. Or even Matt Flynn.
During preseason, when Pete Carroll named Wilson the starter, a few observant insiders called Wilson their sleeper pick for ROY. As the season has gone on, the team has transformed from a run-first squad with a scary defense into a Championship contender clicking when it matters most. And Wilson, alongside them, has transformed from a capable caretaker to a dangerous threat in a potent offense.
Nate Raby: It’s clearly Justin Blackmon.
No, Joe hit the nail on the head here. Luck might be better, Griffin might be flashier, but Wilson has brought this Seahawks team to relevancy with his multi-dimensional talents and smart quarterbacking.
He has elements of both, and together I think that makes the best rookie quarterback at the moment. I think what impresses me most is how rarely he makes mistakes. Sure, RG3 has 5 less INTs than Wilson, but he’s fumbled the ball 7 more times. Wilson makes the smart throw, makes the smart play, and can keep plays alive without hurting his team in the long run.
Another reason I pick Wilson is the way he has evolved in Seattle. Joe touched on it, but when you look at the two other rookie quarterbacks, they had an offense tailor-made to fit them. Those two teams have been planning since May for their pick to be their guy, organizing every detail around the fact that #12 and #10 were going to be behind center. Pete Carroll, in typical Carroll “what the fuck” fashion, confused everyone including himself about who was going to start for his team, and as a result the offense has been something Wilson has had to fit into. And as he’s gotten more comfortable and learned every week, he’s added facets to his game to make him more dangerous. He runs. He uses playfakes in the flow of the offense. He’ll hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch, eat a sandwich, and smile as Skittles breaks for the end zone. He hasn’t had to win in any one sort of way, and he’s been able to do anything possible to put his team in this position.
Like I said, I don’t see Wilson breaking out to be the best quarterback of the three. But in this rookie campaign I pick Wilson over Luck and Griffin because, other than his mom and whoever drafted him in fantasy, who the hell saw this coming?
Ben Van Iten: The previous two gentlemen are almost making my points for me. If you hadn’t noticed the snotty tone of my previous sentence, I’m about to get all debate club up in this bitch. The reason why I think Wilson is getting this amount of rookie of the year buzz is because we didn’t expect him to play this well, and he is doing it late in the season. After the Seahawks clobbering of the 49ers, he is the freshest thing in our minds. But while he has played fantastic football, I don’t think any of those reasons mean he should be rookie of the year.
To me he is third place in this debate, although it is a lot closer than I would have ever thought it would be. But I can’t ignore the fact that for a lot of Russell’s games he has had to throw the ball less than twenty times. For a long stretch of the season he was asked to simply not lose games, while the other two quarterbacks have been at the forefront of their team’s success the entire year. I realize Wilson is a multi-dimensional threat, but not in the same way that RGIII is. Russell has less passing and rushing yards than Robert, who also has his team in the position to make a very unexpected playoff appearance
But the more I think about it, the more I think the offensive rookie of the year is Andrew Luck. The #1 overall draft pick has more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers for Christ sake, and as a matter of fact set the rookie record for that category last week. From day one, Luck has never been babied by the playbook or his coaches. He has attempted more passes of 15 yards or longer than any quarterback in the NFL this season, and in doing so has turned around a team that was 2-14 last season without any other positions on the team receiving major upgrades. The fact that the Colts are in the playoffs right now is mind boggling to me. He has thrown more interceptions than I’d like, but given the learning curve of the NFL, the amount of times he has had to chuck it, and the Colts complete lack of a run game…I will let some of them slide. In conclusion, I think Russell Wilson is playing the best football right now, but this is an award that is given out for the entire season.
Who do you think should be rookie of the year? Let us know in the comments section.