Russell Wilson is known as a quarterback who prefers to hold onto the ball. To run around, extend the play, and make something happen. But new data shows when he plays on schedule, he’s a successful passer. In a Friday article from Pro Football Focus, Wilson ranked in the top ten of quarterbacks on throws in which the ball was released in under 2.5 seconds, viewed as the average snap-to-throw time for the position.

According to PFF, Wilson carried a 78.1 passing grade when getting the ball out that quickly, finishing tenth overall.

Those moments will have to happen more often in Pittsburgh. As we outlined last month, Wilson has consistently had among the league’s longest snap-to-throw times. In 2023, he was third-longest at over three seconds, an eternity by NFL standards.

Over the past five seasons, only once was his average time even at 2.8 seconds. That still placed him in the middle of the pack.

Year Throw Time NFL Rank
Russell Wilson (2023) 3.06 seconds 3rd-Longest
Russell Wilson (2022) 2.98 seconds 7th-Longest
Russell Wilson (2021) 2.80 seconds 21st (of 39)
Russell Wilson (2020) 2.97 seconds 5th-Longest
Russell Wilson (2019) 2.85 seconds 12th-Longest

Balance is key. Russell Wilson clearly didn’t fit well in Sean Payton’s hyper-structured scheme. He’s not Drew Brees. But he will have to speed up his decision-making and rely a bit less on his mobility to become a more efficient and effective quarterback. It will also reduce the high number of sacks he’s prone to taking, the league’s most-sacked quarterback since being drafted in 2012. Only twice in his career has he been sacked less than 40 times in a season. In both of those years, he threw no more than 400 passes.

The Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa was the top-rated quarterback for getting the ball out quickly. The Detroit Lions’ Jared Goff and Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott finished second and third, respectively.

On throws of more than 2.5 seconds, the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson carried the league’s highest passing grade. Interestingly, a pair of pocket passers finished second and third in Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford. Pittsburgh will face Cousins and the Atlanta Falcons to begin the season on September 8.


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