Should Russell Wilson throw sidearm exclusively in the red zone?
Russell Wilson Potentially Finds Improvement In Tough Loss To Titans
Russell Wilson’s performance against Tennessee may have provided a chance for the offense to improve significantly. After the loss on Sunday, I was drawn back to a problem that has plagued the Seahawks for years. Scoring throwing the ball when it’s inside the low red zone. It’s been a huge problem since Wilson has been here. Doug Baldwin and Chris Carson’s touchdowns this week may have offered a huge breakthrough for Seahawks offense. Those were the best thrown balls Wilson had in the low red zone. Well, at least, throws weren’t lobs or snap throws to the outside.
The throw to Carson was right on the numbers and it was within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Watch it here, Carson basically runs into the ball like it was hand-off. It’s perfect. Watch it again, I’ll wait. Both those passes are quick snap tosses sidearm. Here’s Baldwin’s just for confirmation.
Some Difficultly With Unique Mechanics
Russell Wilson’s natural arm angle is a high release with an almost locked elbow. This helps him get the ball downfield and over the linemen. It also provides a bit more velocity than a sidearm release. This high arm angle has drawbacks however as it causes him to hit players at the top of the pads more often than not. This makes it hard for receivers to react on quicker or shorter throws. Receivers pulling the ball in closer to their shoulders instead of chest will have less surface area to assist in the reception. Sidearm seems like the right adjustment here.
This isn’t necessarily the first time he’s used sidearm mechanics. He’s thrown sidearm before. Usually in scramble situations. A key example of this is his TD toss to Jimmy Graham versus the Eagles last year. He’s also made throws to Christine Michael on the same route type that Baldwin ran for his touchdown. The ability is there, but it doesn’t seem to be something he’s utilizing enough in this specific situation/position on the field. I think he should consider it exclusively in the redzone.
History Proves It can work
A physical switch like this wouldn’t be unheard in the Seattle sports scene. Randy Johnson completed his transformation from inconsistent A+ talent to Cy Young contender by throwing his slider permanently sidearm. Johnson did this because he felt that he had more control of the pitch. His normal release caused it to snap off too high and only to the left side of the plate. A small change in arm-angle transformed The Big Unit into a generational power pitcher.
I’m not saying that Russell Wilson will for sure improve with this switch but it’s worth a try.
Notes: Low Red Zone: fifteen yards or fewer to the goal line.