Following a long offseason - okay, compared to the nightmare that was 2020, the past several months have been a breeze - the Seahawks will officially usher in the 2021 season by reporting to training camp on July 27.
Kicking off our camp preview series, here's a close look at the state of the quarterback position, including the depth chart, a key question that must be answered, and a bold prediction for the upcoming season.
2020 In Review
Though he broke his own franchise record with 40 touchdown passes and surpassed 4,200 passing yards for only the second time in his career, Wilson's 2020 season was a tale of two halves. He came out of the gate red hot to open the year, throwing 26 touchdown passes in Seattle's first eight games, emerging as an early favorite to win MVP honors. But he came crashing back to Earth over the final two months, throwing only 14 touchdowns in the final eight games, with four of those coming in a blowout win over the hapless Jets. Taking that 40-3 victory out of the equation, he only threw eight touchdowns in the other seven games down the stretch, playing himself out of MVP contention.
While some media outlets refused to let Wilson trade speculation rest and kept beating a dead horse even after the 2021 NFL Draft, Seattle didn't make any changes at quarterback this offseason. The same four quarterbacks who were on the roster or practice squad in January will report to training camp later this month. However, the decision to change offensive coordinators largely stemmed from Wilson's second half swoon and the star signal caller was actively involved in the process of hiring Shane Waldron, whose arrival should be viewed as a significant one for the position group.
Back in action in OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Wilson and the Seahawks have aimed to put a tumultuous offseason behind them. Armed with a star-studded supporting cast headlined by DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and an improved offensive line in front of him, he will look to shatter several of his own franchise single-season records and guide the team on a deeper playoff run in 2021.
Reserves: Geno Smith, Danny Etling, Alex McGough
Being a backup quarterback in Seattle has to be one of the most boring jobs in the NFL. But Smith did get a handful of snaps in a win over the New York Jets last year and with more than 30 career starts under his belt, he provides a quality insurance option in the event Wilson does go down with an injury.
Etling and McGough, who have never taken a regular season snap, both offer plus-athletic traits and have enough arm talent to potentially perform well in preseason games. But with the Seahawks guaranteed to keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, they will likely be competing for a single spot on the practice squad or a chance to latch on with another team seeking a backup upgrade.
Can Waldron help Wilson bounce back and take his game to the next level entering year No. 10?
Wilson doesn't deserve all of the blame for Seattle's offensive shortcomings in the second half last year. But he certainly contributed struggling through the worst slump of his nine-year career, in large part due to his proclivity to hold onto the football too long. The Seahawks ultimately chose Waldron to replace Brian Schottenheimer to implement a more efficient quick passing game coupled with tempo. If Waldron is able to aid Wilson in becoming more effective attacking the middle of the field and unloading the football in a more timely manner, the offense as a whole will be far more effective and the big plays that evaded the group in the second half last season should return in a major way.
If not? The drama that characterized this past offseason between the star quarterback and the franchise may only be escalated next spring and Wilson's status as a Seahawk moving forward could be in question. No pressure, Mr. Waldron.
Wilson will throw 48 touchdown passes and surpass 4,800 passing yards for the first time in his career.
Breaking single-season marks should be taken with a grain of salt in 2021, as all 32 teams will play 17 regular season games for the first time. The extra game will inflate statistics across the board, especially for quarterbacks in today's pass-happy NFL. Nonetheless, Wilson should be well-equipped with skill position weapons galore, a quality front line with four returning starters, and a new coordinator calling plays to post career numbers across the board, positioning himself to be in the hunt for his first MVP and All-Pro consideration.