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Jermaine Kearse, despite having 3 of the top 5 catches in Seahawks history, has been a lightning rod of controversy among Seahawks fans. Despite the mixed reviews, Seattle signed Kearse to a second contract worth $13.5M over 3 years. Kearse has, so far, followed up his new contract with easily the worst season of his career. He’s on pace to have the fewest yards in a season since he became a fixture in the passing game, along with the lowest catch rate and yards per catch of his entire career. He’s also yet to score a touchdown this season.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Russ’ stats while targeting Kearse are abysmal:

 

And:

And:

 

Boy, Jermaine Kearse is having a rough season!

You can’t have a season as statistically poor as Jermaine’s without multiple contributing problems. But any time we’re looking at stats like quarterback rating or AY/A, a major factor is going to be touchdowns and interceptions. Kearse’s touchdown drought was noted above, so lets take a look at the four interceptions Russ has thrown while targeting Jermaine.

This first play is kind of a microcosm of Kearse’s season. It’s a bit of an odd decision by Russ, since Kearse never really gives him any reason to throw. Kearse then gets bodied a bit trying to come back and make a tough play on the ball. And it all culminates in some bad luck with the pass getting picked off after bouncing off Kearse’s defender to a second DB.

A better receiver might make this play, Kearse in previous seasons might have made this play, and more often than not the pass simply falls incomplete.

On pick number two, you pretty much just have to tip your cap Nate Stupar. The decision by Russ is a little questionable, as there is a safety on top of Kearse along with Stupar underneath. But this is another one where the interception was a bit unlucky. Stupar makes a fantastic play on the ball, and Kearse’s involvement is ultimately incidental to the play.

I’ve watched this third down play more than a few times and I’m still not clear on what happened. It seems there was a disconnect between Russ and Kearse, and it’s certainly possible that Jermaine ran the wrong route. But even so, I can’t understand what Russ saw that would make him throw this pass. The routes that would take Kearse to where Russ put the ball would be either a deep 15 yard in curl, but both the safety and the corner are in position to make a play on either of those routes.  Whatever Kearse may or may not have been expected to do, this was just an extremely poor decision by Wilson.

The fourth and last pick came just last week. On third and 19, Russell lobbed a pass to Kearse off his back foot while under pressure. This is what Russ saw when he decided to heave this one up.

KearsePick4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another pass that’s hard to chalk up as anything but a poor decision by Russ.

Again, it’s hard to pin Kearse’s statistical regression on any one thing. Kearse’s targets are at an all time high while his raw production is at an all time low, and you don’t have to look too hard to find out why. But it’s just a few plays that have taken Jermaine’s 2016 from slump to disaster, and those plays have little to do with Kearse himself.

Those familiar with my #KearseKrew membership may see this as little more than excuse making, but really this is a call to optimism. Kearse may not be as broken as he seems, which would be a huge boon to an offense ranked just 17th in DVOA. And wouldn’t it be just like Jermaine to have a big bounce back come the playoffs?

6 Responses

  1. Erik

    He often gets credit for big catches, including the playoff game against Green Bay, but how about the plays he misses in the same games that are as bad or worse in magnitude than those big catches?! How many picks was he responsible for against GB in that playoff game? Failed at his block in the SB so that balances out his circus catch there. You blame Russ for poor decisions on some of these throws this year – but here’s the thing: Kearse is his fall back, and that’s a huge problem given Kearse is no good. Picture how dominant this offense would be if Russ heaved it to Jimmy or Baldwin every time there was nothing else seemingly open instead. If Kearse wasn’t a local boy, he’d be the most hated Seahawk of all time. On the Mt. Rushmore of Seattle Suck with Bobby Ayala, Chone Figgins, and Vin Baker.

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  2. Doug

    I dunno. The statistical case against Kearse is pretty damning, but the question I have asked before is something we still don’t know: has Kearse suffered a skill decline from last season, or does he have a nagging injury of some kind that nobody is talking about? The thing is, Kearse has never been a ‘reliable’ receiver in the way Baldwin is–lots of drops and interceptions on targets to Kearse on film. But there are also the circus catches in clutch moments, that make it so hard to just stuff him on ST and let Lockett/McEvoy take his snaps.

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  3. pkgoode

    There’s no getting away from the reality that Kearse has played below his contract, and that’s coming from a fan of his. There’s a reason that Tyler Lockett has passed him on the depth chart. That being said, coaches and players do praise JK for his willingness to do the dirty work: Setting picks, blocking, running decoy routes. Whether that’s worth $13.5M/3 is a question.

    IMHO, the significance of his missed pick in the SB is overstated. The interception was a fluke — a great play that Butler couldn’t pull off 99 times out a hundred under any circumstances. Heck, Richard Sherman couldn’t make the play 98 times out of a hundred.

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  4. Jacob Stevens

    These and other interceptions reflect worse on Wilson than on the receiver. This is notable and it’s nice to have that established. Good work, here.

    I guess the best argument against Jermaine Kearse is an absence of what would figure to be the best case for him, in the midst of a few plays making his season a disaster: the absence of value-add of any significance to balance out these few plays that have made his season a disaster, which I concede are somewhat fluky. Even the bounce off his head is a bit fluky, as a similar thing happened to Doug Baldwin in that GB game.

    I’ve really, really enjoyed rooting for Jermaine Kearse. Liked him a lot for what he delivered. “That’s how you break through those brick walls” might be my favorite motivational quote from all Seahawks coaches and players, which is really saying something. But I’m ready for competition at the spot, and I think we’re seeing it. Paul Richardson hadn’t done enough to compel the coaches to take many snaps from Kearse. Collinsworth hinted that McEvoy may be beginning to. We’ll see.

    Last item, the seemingly unshakable trust Wilson has in Kearse, which surely has contributed to the disaster as much as anything, is yet remarkable and somewhat inspiring.

    Reply
    • pkgoode

      It just might be that the best argument for Kearse is the lack of an alternative at WR. Here’s what we’re looking at in receptions:

      Baldwin – 79
      Locket – 39
      Kearse – 35
      Richardson – 13
      McEvoy – 7

      These stats go some way toward explaining the number of Kearse’s targets — Russell has to throw to *somebody.* Of his 469 attempts, 271 (58%) have gone to the WRs; overall, that doesn’t seem out of line. Plus, Lockett’s availability was limited for nine games. There’s Graham, of course, but let’s not forget that he too still coming back from a significant injury.

      BTW, let’s face it: Paul Richardson is a huge disappointment: Tanner McEvoy has more receptions in the last four games.

      Reply
  5. TomT

    At least 3 of those 4 interceptions were bad decisions by RW, he had better opportunities with other receivers, however RW doesnt have the time to survey the field due to the poor offensive line play, which is a result of bad management by JS & PC. Its interesting that the Cowboys have the number 1 seed this year, about 4 years ago they started focusing their draft on the OL & it has paid off. The press likes to talk about Dak & Zeke, but the reason they r winning is the OL. Until the Hawks have a capable OL they will continue to have problems running the ball & protecting RW, will be able to beat up on bad teams but not consistently compete with good teams

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