The Next Great Debate – Colin Kaepernick Vs. Russell WilsonNoah Williams
Is it too early to talk about Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson? Nope! Not when they’ve played each other four times and will meet for the first time in the playoffs this weekend. And not when they play in the same division and are guaranteed to butt heads at least twice a year. How you approach this conversation depends on two things: where they are now and where they will be down the line.
Russell Wilson simply hasn’t sold me on his stardom yet. He is the quarterback of one of the most physically dominant and exciting teams out there, and he’s certainly got that “lightning in a bottle” feeling to him. Most of my animosity towards him has more to do with the fact that he hasn’t really proven himself in a big game just yet. The guy completed 9 passes last weekend against New Orleans for 103 yards.
There is a general misconception about Wilson that he’s this huge dual threat, which is where some of the hype surrounding Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson emanates. “They can both move so well!” The thing is that there’s a difference in the way they use their feet.
Wilson ran for a promising 539 yards but only scored one touchdown this season. He is not the endzone threat that people make him out to be because he doesn’t have the elite speed that most associate with his skill set. In his biggest rushing game of the year, Wilson ran for 102 yards against Indianapolis and the Seahawks lost 28-34. His other big days came against Houston, Tennessee and the New York Giants. Excuse me for not getting excited.
More than anything, Wilson scrambles when he can’t see down the field properly and he has to use his spry agility so that he can view passing lanes properly. Even more worrisome is the fact that he was sacked 44 times this year, which was the third most by any quarterback. That’s why I’ve always questioned Wilson – I don’t think he’ll ultimately have a long career. Drew Brees is more so an exception to the rule than the standard. There’s a reason that scouts prefer quarterbacks that are over 6-foot-3, and it has a lot to do with the average height of offensive linemen, which falls somewhere around 6-foot-5.
This isn’t meant to denigrate the Seahawks quarterback in the discussion between Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson. It’s merely meant to put things in perspective. He’s definitely proven that he can help Seattle win games, but I’m not convinced that he’s this game breaking life saver.
The fact remains that both Wilson and Kaepernick play for two of the best overall teams in the league. Neither took gigantic steps forward on an individual level but that’s because both lost (or didn’t have) key receivers throughout the year. Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Michael Crabtree are three undeniably talented pass catches and none of them were on the field that long.
Wilson barely improved on his numbers from last year. Here are his stat lines from the past two seasons:
2012 – 3,118 yards, 64.1% comp, 26 TD, 10 INT, 94-for-489 (4 TD)
2013 – 3,357 yards, 63.1% comp, 26 TD, 9 INT, 96-for-539 rush (1 TD)
That’s not much of a leap. But don’t let that sell Wilson short. You can win in this league when your quarterback routinely avoids mistakes, plays within his limits and has the all-round potential to have massive games. The problem is that Wilson rarely has those huge days; he’s only breached the 300-passing yard ceiling three times in 16 games.
The catch with Kaepernick is simple: he’s been in the league longer but has started fewer games than his opponent this weekend. He averaged 229.7 yards in seven starts last season, and just 199.8 this year. Of course, a lot of that can be explained by the fact that he had a very up and down year. Kaepernick exploded in Week 1 with a 412 yard game against Green Bay, but never eclipsed the 300 yard mark until Week 17 when he posted 310 against Arizona.
But there’s a stark difference between the two, and that has to do with potential. I think we’ve seen what Wilson’s ceiling is. He’s a creative playmaker that gives defensive coordinators fits because his scrambling ability usually leads to either a broken-play pass connection or a scamper for a decent gain. He is wildly consistent because he stays within his abilities. It’s not very often that you see him make a really dumb pass. He takes what the defense gives them and it’d be very interesting to see what he’d be able to do with a better receiving corps. We’ve seen glimpses with Percy Harvin.
You can win a lot of football games like that and also avoid a ton of heartbreak. None of the losses that the Seahawks suffered this season were on Wilson’s shoulder’s completely. Can you win a Super Bowl with that kind of guy? You can win a Super Bowl with anybody , but your chances – and your window of opportunity – aren’t very wide.
This where San Francisco’s new quarterback leads the polls in the Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson debate. Nothing compares to what Kaepernick has shown us in just a year and a half. His throws can sometimes be off, but when they’re on they look picture perfect. When he breaks in to the open field, you can’t tear your eyes away from the television, let alone know what he’s going to do. It really comes down to a question of athleticism – Kaepernick is one of the most gifted professional football players there is. There’s literally no telling how great he can be.
The Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson argument can’t be settled yet, nor will it have a definitive conclusion on Sunday. It will (hopefully) rage on for years to come but. Right now, however, it all boils down to two characteristics: Kaepernick has more potential but Wilson is far more consistent.
So when you place your bet this weekend, remember that the biggest games in the post season aren’t reserved for those that park inside the box. It’s a stage for the greatest to prove just how truly amazing they are. That’s why I love San Francisco at +3.5 this weekend. The potential that Kaepernick presents in terms of talent, enjoyment and betting profits is undeniable.
I’m just not sure you can say the same about Russell Wilson.
Not yet anyways.