Russell Wilson is in concussion protocols after being banged up by Kansas City, and legendary former NFL quarterback Warren Moon believes the issue is Wilson being something he is not: a pocket quarterback.
Warren Moon Disses Russell Wilson
Since Wilson’s addition to the Denver Broncos lineup as the starting gunslinger, the results have been disappointing. With a dismal 3-10 record, the team currently sits at the bottom of the AFC West and, as usual, the blame lies at the leadership position, the quarterback.
Moon, who has had experience with Wilson from his Seattle Seahawks days, gave his unique insights to Outkick about the younger quarterback: to include physical disadvantages of standing at only 5’10”.
“Everybody wants to blame the coach,” Moon said to Outkick about first-year Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett. “But this is what Russell wanted. He wanted to be a pocket quarterback. That’s what he has always wanted. “(Seattle) wanted to have him in the pocket about 60 percent of the time and then move him around the rest.”
“All that stuff about, ‘Let Russ cook’ is really him talking about wanting to be in the pocket all the time. He can’t do that. He’s too short. You have to get him out in space a lot of the time so he can see everything.”
Moon knows football and, most notably, the intricacies of the QB position. He is the first Black quarterback elected to the Hall of Fame and knows football at the highest level. Moon moved on to the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent in 1997, setting franchise records for completions with 313 and passing yards at 3,678, earning his ninth Pro Bowl selection. Unfortunately, injuries limited his ability to play in 1998, but by 1999 Moon joined the Kansas City Chiefs spending two seasons as a backup before his retirement.
For Moon, Wilson’s reluctance to be a mobile quarterback and rely on a pocket passing game has been the definitive reason for his ineffectiveness in Denver. That strategy requires an ever-ready offensive line that will protect him at all costs, and Denver has come up short with that deliverable. During the 34-28 loss on Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs, in addition to Wilson entering concussion protocols, wide receiver Kendall Hinton suffered a hamstring injury, and running back Mike Boone had an ankle injury.
For most of the season, the Broncos have led the league in players on injured reserve. Now the team has critical hurdles for the final four weeks and beyond to solve their problems on offense. Russell Wilson is only 5’10” in a land of giants. Although his inspirations are former players like the six-foot-standing Drew Brees, Wilson or his defenders must adjust to the new reality without his Seattle squadron of the Legion of Boom.
“Saints also did a really good job of getting guards and a center who were good and could keep the pocket clean when (Brees) stepped up to throw,” Moon continued. “Seattle used Russell on read-option plays much of the time to keep Wilson moving around.
“You have to get Russ moving around so that he can get out into space so he can see things better. You know from watching, He’s not going to be able to see the middle of the field. When you watch him throw deep, it’s rarely deep down the middle. He also doesn’t see it very well and now that he doesn’t move as well as he used to, he doesn’t like going.”
It will take more than the grace and presence of Ciara to solve Wilson’s new problems in Denver.