Five Takeaways From Russell Wilson’s Disappointing Return to Seattle

A wild Week 1 got here to an in depth Monday night time when the Seahawks hung on to beat the Broncos 17-16 in Russell Wilson’s go back to Seattle. The recreation was once predictably bizarre, given its members, and gave us a primary have a look at how some new faces glance in new puts. Here are 5 takeaways:

1. Nathaniel Can’t Hackett

Broncos head trainer Nathaniel Hackett’s debut will have long past significantly better. His staff performed sloppily and were given flagged 12 occasions, costing Denver 106 yards. The pre-snap operation was once in particular messy. His offense had some embarrassing sequences on the target line, the place it constantly operated out of the shotgun, for no matter reason why. And that may have influenced a questionable resolution to accept a box target halfway in the course of the fourth quarter with the Broncos down by means of 4 and dealing with a fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line.

Hackett’s worst influence, regardless that, was once the closing one he gave. With a few minute left within the recreation and the Broncos trailing by means of some extent, Denver’s offense stayed out at the box for 39 seconds of clock time on fourth-and-5 earlier than Hackett in any case known as a timeout. Following that, Hackett opted to ship kicker Brandon McManus out to check out a 64-yard box target as an alternative of conserving the ball in quarterback Russell Wilson’s $245 million arms. McManus ignored, and the Seahawks went on to win.

Much was once manufactured from the partnership between Hackett and Wilson within the leadup to this recreation, and there’s a number of time left for them to outline it this season, however within the second it counted maximum on Monday, Hackett’s resolution was once to Let Russ Look.

Models range, however Football Outsiders’ win likelihood calculator discovered that the verdict to kick a box target as an alternative of passing in that state of affairs price the Broncos just about 30 share issues.

McManus is a superb kicker who advantages moreover from enjoying part his video games within the Denver altitude, however he’s by no means made a kick of greater than 61 yards—and this recreation was once in Seattle. Not to point out throughout league historical past, NFL kickers are simplest 2-of-41 on kicks of 64 yards or longer.

To underscore how really befuddling this resolution was once, Seattle had extensively utilized its ultimate timeout to ice McManus, and he ignored that strive, as smartly. At that time there have been simplest 20 seconds left within the recreation, and McManus in fact did have the gap on that kick that didn’t rely, if now not the positioning. But it’s nonetheless surprising that even with overtime to rethink, um, asking a participant who’d thrown for 340 yards already to throw for 5 extra as an alternative of asking a kicker to make a career-long kick, Hackett didn’t.

Hackett showed after the sport that he by no means thought of going for it, both earlier than or after the timeout, then stated that 64 yards was once McManus’s vary and that “Brandon gave it his best shot.”

He can have to be offering additional rationalization this week, particularly for the reason that Pete Carroll stated he was once by no means anticipating the Broncos to kick in that state of affairs.

“I was surprised that they took Russ out at the end,” Carroll stated. “We weren’t thinking field goal there, we were thinking it was fourth down and they were still going. It gave us a chance to win the game on that play. We were fortunate there.”

2. Let Geno Cook?

Starting his first Week 1 recreation in 8 years, Geno Smith gave the Seahawks the whole thing they may have was hoping for. He finished 82 p.c of his passes (23-of-28) for 195 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Smith started the sport with a fan-base-appropriate 12 instantly completions and threw two touchdowns within the first part earlier than the Broncos protection clamped down and held Seattle scoreless after halftime. But Smith’s output within the opening two quarters was once sufficient to get the win and, extra importantly, display that he can run the offense the Seahawks sought after to deploy closing season after they employed offensive coordinator Shane Waldron clear of Sean McVay’s Rams personnel. Smith threw most commonly brief, over the center, and to his proper (his yards according to strive reasonable was once 5.1, in accordance to Next Gen Stats). He were given the ball out on time, with a mean time to throw of two.85 seconds, and he used play-action on a heavy 37 p.c of his dropbacks.

He wasn’t flawless, regardless that. His willingness to stand within the pocket is welcome in Seattle, the place Waldron desires his quarterback to play on agenda, a choice that were a hard are compatible with Wilson. But there have been more than one performs when Smith was once too prepared to achieve this, status nonetheless when he must have climbed up within the pocket to keep away from power and wound up getting hit by means of a move rusher coming across the edge. At least as soon as this took place when Denver outdoor linebacker Bradley Chubb gained a rep towards Seahawks rookie offensive take on Charles Cross, which is not anything to be troubled about, but it surely was once one adverse tendency that confirmed up within the recreation. Overall, regardless that, Smith done the offensive recreation plan smartly, which bodes smartly for a Seattle staff in an NFC West that didn’t glance as foreboding as anticipated in Week 1.

3. New Team, Same Russ

We must now not have anticipated the rest. No topic what offense he’s in, Russell Wilson runs his personal offense, and that’s what took place Monday night time. A significant preseason speaking level in Denver was once that the Broncos sought after to function with numerous pace—but if the sport began, Russ took his time, threw it deep, and broke the pocket liberally. His reasonable time to throw was once 3.04 seconds, with a 7.3 reasonable yards according to strive.

This isn’t a criticism! Wilson went 29-of-42 for 340 yards and a landing, and with out two goal-line fumbles from operating backs Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams, Denver more than likely would have gained. The Broncos offense outgained the Seahawks by means of just about 200 overall yards, 433-253. It’s simply some other reminder that if Hackett is the offensive trainer who will get Wilson to regulate his taste, he would be the first to have achieved it.

4. More Rust for the Resters

The Broncos joined the likes of the Rams, Bengals, and Packers as groups who closely prioritized leisure over reps for starters in coaching camp and the preseason, then had sloppy first video games. Though one of the crucial Broncos’ consequences can also be defined by means of the noise at Lumen Field, it was once nonetheless a critical factor. Two misplaced fumbles didn’t lend a hand, both (regardless that Seattle had 3 fumbles and was once fortunate to recuperate two of them). Denver was once so wary in regards to the preseason that even if the Cowboys visited for a joint observe—one thing many coaches use to ramp up physicality as a result of they may be able to see their avid gamers towards some other staff whilst having extra regulate than they’d in a preseason recreation—it wound up being a gentle day of labor.

Seattle, in the meantime, joins groups just like the Giants and Steelers who, partially as a result of quarterback competitions or critiques that wanted to occur, gave extra reps and bodily observe time to starters earlier than the season and pulled off upsets in Week 1. Some coaches would more than likely say that accidents are a larger worry than rust, but it surely’s value observing to see whether or not the craze continues.

5. Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams Do Everything Together

Denver it appears takes this operating again committee factor quite severe. Gordon and Williams cut up touches just about frivolously Monday night time, with Williams getting 18 to Gordon’s 14. (They additionally every had a fumble on the target line.)

Williams was once way more productive, with 43 yards on seven carries and 11 catches for 65 yards within the passing recreation. Gordon had 12 carries for 58 yards and two receptions for 14 yards. If the disparity in manufacturing continues to be that huge, it might appear glaring that Williams would get started getting the bigger portion of the workload. But that hasn’t took place but.

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