Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Running QBs don’t lead to Super Bowls

Post by Eric Williams on June 10, 2013 at 7:56 am with 28 Comments »
June 10, 2013 7:56 am
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) pushes past St. Louis Rams' Eugene Sims for a 15-yard run in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-13. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) pushes past St. Louis Rams’ Eugene Sims for a 15-yard run in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-13. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports has an interesting article this morning on the history of running quarterbacks and their ability to lead teams to Super Bowl wins.

Kirwan analyzed the 10 best running performances by quarterbacks over the history of the NFL, and compared them with how their team fared over the season.

Kirwan: Here are the top 10 all-time season running performances by quarterbacks.

1. Michael Vick (2006): 1,039 yards and a 7-9 record
2. Bobby Douglas (1972): 968 yards and a 4-9-1 record
3. Randall Cunningham (1990): 942 yards and a 10-6 record
4. Michael Vick (2004): 902 yards and an 11-4 record
5. Robert Griffin III (2012): 815 yards and a 9-6 record
6. Michael Vick (2002): 777 yards and an 8-6-1 record
7. Cam Newton (2012): 741 yards and a 7-9 record
8. Cam Newton (2011): 706 yards and a 6-10 record
9. Michael Vick (2010): 676 yards and an 8-4 record
10. Steve McNair (1997): 674 yards and an 8-8 record

The combined record for the quarterbacks was 78-71-2 (52 percent), and none of them made it to the Super Bowl.

Of course, the impetus of Kirwan’s article is all of the success quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III had running the read option offense in 2012.

However, unlike some of prolific runners in the past like Michael Vick, Bobby Douglas and Randall Cunningham, Wilson and the rest can still make plays from the pocket if you take away the read option.

Wilson ran for 489 yards last year. With Percy Harvin in the fold and another year of development, Wilson likely will run less in 2013.

Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle gives us his top five players he’ll be watching at this week’s mandatory minicamp, which begins on Tuesday.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s versatility makes him an ideal fit for Seattle’s defense.

Jason Jenks of The Seattle Times profiles Seattle rookie fullback Spencer Ware.

Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reports that the Bears have traded former first round selection offensive lineman Gabe Carimi to Tampa Bay for a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft. Carimi had not participated in Chicago’s offseason program. There’s been heated debate on the blog over the Seahawks selecting James Carpenter at No. 25 over Carimi, who was drafted by the Bears at No. 29 in the 2011 draft.

ESPN’s Mike Sando takes a look at the offensive linemen drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft and the number of starts they have over that time frame. New England’s Nate Solder (No. 17 and Miami’s Mike Pouncey (No. 15) top the list with 32 starts.

Greg Bishop of the New York Times’ story on the mysterious death former Grand Valley State quarterback Cullen Finnerty is worth a read this morning.

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Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. I think RW is more of a pocket QB with great running skills. Same thing with Steve Young. Shouldn’t Young and Tarkenton be on that list?

  2. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I agree Audible.
    Elway could run also, in fact arguably the biggest play Elway ever made was that tough run in the Super Bowl against the Packers.

    I like what Michael Bennett has to say about the D-line-

    “There are just so many good players,” Bennett said. “You bring in Tony (McDaniel), Red (Bryant) does his thing, you’ve got Avril, Mebane, Bruce, the young guys, those new rookies are going to be pretty good D-tackles. We’ve got a lot of good players.

    “That’s the scary part. We can show a big front, we can go small and be speed, we can have a mixture. This is a very good defensive line.”

  3. juliusvrooder says:

    Russell is not a running quarterback, he is a scrambler who is always looking to pass, and a smart guy who slides or steps out of bounds rather than risk injury to gain a few more yards. Let RGIII take the yards, the knee injury, and the reputation for toughness. Russell will settle for the win.

    Thats why he is not on the list, and also why Young and Tarkenton are not. Young and Tarkenton were the same kind of player. Both had multiple pennants, both are in the hall of fame, saving Russell a seat at the smart kids table.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    Young’s season high for rushing is 537. Surprisingly low for someone so athletic.

    And I also agree with Audible: Wilson generally keeps his eyes downfield once he evacuates the pocket, were guys like Newton and Vick look to run period, once they pull it down.

  5. RDPoulsbo says:

    The flaw in Kirwan’s analysis is he just takes the top QB rushing performances into account. If you look at their passing numbers, for the most part they were pretty pedestrian. You certainly aren’t running your QB a ton when you’re ahead in a game. You could do the same for the top QB in passing yards as well and for the most part you don’t usually find SB contenders (you pass more when you’re losing). It’s just an exercise in showing that balance brings you the best chance at success.

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    If Wilson would have run for more than 674 yards last year he would be on that list, even if he is a pass first/smart running QB.

  7. raymaines says:

    RDP: Brilliant.

    The trouble with a balanced offense is that nobody is really happy with their statistics. The running back doesn’t get his yards, the receivers don’t get their catches, and the D guys aren’t on the field long enough to get sacks or INT’s. Poor guys, they’ll have to content themselves with rings. I guess this really is a team game after all.

  8. EarthWindNdHawks says:

    McNair did play in a Superbowl… just not that year. And Randall was a dead-on field goal away from facing Elway in another (Vick went to a NFC championship also). The issue is not the ability, or even the propensity to run – it’s whether your team’s dearth of talent makes it a necessity.

  9. HawkFromDay1 says:

    Was the debate really Carpenter vs. Carimi?

    I think at the time everyone was a bit stunned the Hawks didn’t take Andy Dalton. Obviously, I’m cool with how that one worked out.

  10. chuck_easton says:

    Not to pile on, but heads up, I’m jumping on top of the pile!!!!

    Go back and watch that video of Wilson in high school. Every time he breaks out of the pocket you can clearly see his head is up and he’s looking down field to find an open receiver.

    The number of times there was a specific call for Wilson to run last season were in the single digits in my humble and uneducated opinion. Maybe Duke or one of the other stats crunchers can look, but I recall the majority of Wilson’s runs were on a true passing play where the pocket broke down.

    Cam Newton looks like the one read and run kind of QB. In fact, that was exactly what his offensive scheme was at Auburn and that has carried over into the NFL. Cam doesn’t go through the full read of 1,2,3, checkdown, and get the heck out of the pocket. Cam looks at the primary and if it isn’t there the ball comes down and off he goes.

    Wilson, Kaepernick, and Griffin all have great arms. They will beat you with the pass.

    The read option is simply another weapon in their game to get the LB’s to stay close to the line. The concept of the read option is get the ball to the RB first. IF the LB and/or End bite on the RB and go that way, pull the ball out and run to where the empty spot is. It isn’t a play designed for the QB to run. It’s actually designed to make the End and/or LB stay home thus opening up a bigger hole for the RB to run through.

    Griffin ran more than Wilson or Kaep. Mostly because he didn’t have as talented of an RB or WR’s. But even he has said he ran too much last year. Look for Griffin to pass more and run less this year.

    With the weapons Seattle has, look for Wilson to pass/hand off more than run this year.

    The only one of the three I see relying on the run as much if not more would be Kaep. He seems to have fallen in love with his ability to run despite the fact he has a cannon for an arm.

    Just my two cents. Not stating it as fact, but my observations.

  11. SF’s CK only played a little over half a year but ran for 676 yds (all games.) He might top that list this coming season and they made the SB this last one. He runs alot, 88 attempts at 7.7 yds/carry, 8 TDs.

    RW ran for 615 yds on 109 attempts at 5.6 yds/carry.

    Both QBs did their most runs, and made their most damage around the right end of their OL. If Red’s foot is OK, SEA’s run-D should improve on that DL end back to what it was in ’11 (good.) It’s also interesting that neither BI nor CC were all that great at run-stopping, they were about as bad at run-D as they were good at pass-rush, which was pretty dang good. It’s also interesting that on a per run-D snap basis, M.Smith did better than KJ Wright. In fact, in last season’s home game vs SF, M.Smith was rated the best run-defender on the team.

  12. Yeah, you can make statistics say anything. I did my own statistical analysis, and here’s proof that Russell Wilson will win a Super Bowl:

    Quarterbacks who posted 100.0 or better QB Rating in their first full season as a starter and the number of Super Bowls they won:

    Otto Graham, 1946, 112.1 rating, 3 NFL Championships (pre-Super Bowl)
    Roger Staubach, 1978, 104.8 rating, 2 Super Bowls
    Kurt Warner, 1999, 102.9 rating, 1 Super Bowl
    RGIII, 2012, 102.4 rating, ?
    Russell Wilson, 2012, 100.0 rating, ?

    See? Every quarterback who has posted a rating of 100.0 or better their first full year as a started has won the Super Bowl (or NFL Championship) at least once. Irrefutable proof that both RW and RGIII will win a Super Bowl.

    Beat that, Kirwan!

  13. Agreed, there is nothing similar about Michael Vick and Russell Wilson. Wilson is a pocket passer who can move, shift, and escape when needed.

    It would be interesting to see a list of pocket quarterbacks who could not move their feet well enough to escape a collapsing pocket. I’ll bet they did much worse than this bunch.

    Since this was a Pat Kirwin article, perhaps we should have just passed it by..

  14. Looking at where the run-attempt numbers came from:

    RW: 109 total, 58 QB scrambles, 11 kneel downs, 7 QB sneaks, 16 design runs RE, 8 design runs LE, 6 design runs R&L A,B,C gaps, and 3 ‘other’ runs(?)

    CK: 88 total, 35 QB scrambles, 9 kneel downs, 1 QB sneak, 13 design runs RE, 15 design runs LE, 7 design runs R&L A,B,C gaps, 1 WR run, and 7 ‘other’ runs(?)

    RG3: 125 total, 44 QB scrambles, 9 kneel downs, 3 QB sneaks, 20 design runs RE, 23 design runs LE, 21 design runs R&L A,B,C gaps, and 5 ‘other’ runs(?)

    I wouldn’t call Alfred Morris a bad RB, he did pretty good last season for DC.

  15. “It’s also interesting that on a per run-D snap basis, M.Smith did better than KJ Wright. In fact, in last season’s home game vs SF, M.Smith was rated the best run-defender on the team.”

    Malcolm Smith is a weakside LB playing in a double eagle front a lot of the time when Seattle’s in ‘run-stop-mode’. By nature of the scheme he is supposed to be outperforming K.J. who played SLB last year. When he starts outperforming Bobby Wagner on a per snap basis then we’ve got something to talk about.

  16. sluggo42 says:

    I’ve been thinking about our RB situation
    1) beast
    2) turbinator
    3) Christine
    4) real rob
    5) Spencer ware

    6) Percy

    I’m starting to wonder if the turbinator can make the cut due to wares ability to play the fullback slot too…
    I remember real rob catching a little swing pass last year and cleaning some poor db’s clock. I think he actually broke the guys arm.

    But anyways, my point is more in how I see rw’s carries coming down next year due to the monster RB staff and Percy available.
    I’m also wondering if they are going to run the read option as much this year, or if they are just going to play in your face ball, stop us if you can. Maybe a new wrinkle in the read option that will make it even tougher to figure…
    Remember, a healthy carp in the left G slot makes for a pretty heavy load that way, a la Walter/hutch/shawna days.

  17. wazzulander says:

    Tebow to sign with Pats. I guess that makes Belicheck an idiot according to some here (tic).

  18. Sobering story on Finnerty. Thanks for sharing. I hope his family gets some resolution. Just goes to show how much more important life is than football.

  19. “Tebow to sign with Pats. I guess that makes Belicheck an idiot according to some here (tic).”

    I don’t think anyone could truly call Bill Belichick an “idiot”. He has shown on more than one occasion that he is willing to give cast-off’s and scrap heap players a shot to do something for his team.

    However, if you are seeking some kind of vindication for Tebow based on this move, I would be quite cautious. There is no guarantee that Tebow even makes it through training camp with that team. And if you know anything about Belichick, then you’ll know that the media circus that follows him from big top to big top isn’t going to get much from Bill, and they will probably even have limited access to Tebow.

  20. Sekolah: “Malcolm Smith is a weakside LB playing in a double eagle front a lot of the time when Seattle’s in ‘run-stop-mode’. By nature of the scheme he is supposed to be outperforming K.J. who played SLB last year. When he starts outperforming Bobby Wagner on a per snap basis then we’ve got something to talk about.”

    Izzat right? Isn’t ‘Dbl Eagle’: NT in 0-tech, (2) 3-tech DTs, weakside wide 5-tech DE, and the SLB heads up on whoever’s on the strongside end of the OL? That last one was where PC played Clay Mathews, and didn’t PC just say that was where he was gonna play M.Smith?

    Per Duke, Bradley had been playing less Under fronts and more Over fronts the last coupla years. Nobody mentioned playing dbl eagles that I heard. Thanks for the info. If we’re aligning in them to counter the run, we must be in it near half the time the defense is on the field(?)

    Watching TV I’m not quick enough to study the opposing offensive alignment, then see what alignment SEA’s D forms to counter. I’m usually watching some sideline color commentator talking to a player even during a play, or maybe watching a commercial until about 2 secs before a snap. Our guys also disguise what their alignment is until the other side is set, so it’s dang hard to read. I’d really, really love for summa you Xs and Os guys to let us boob-tube watchers know what formation SEA plays in what percent of the time they face whichever offensive alignment. I’d also love to find out how that alignment changes (percentage wise) with down and distance.

    Out of All 4-3 OLBs (M.Ts = missed tackles)
    Rank: 13 Malcolm Smith Run Snaps: 73 Tackles: 10 Assists: 3 M.Ts: 1 Stops: 8 Stop %: 11.0
    Rank: 47 Leroy Hill Run Snaps: 203 Tackles: 21 Assists: 9 M.Ts: 2 Stops: 15 Stop %: 7.4
    Rank: 51 K.J. Wright Run Snaps: 294 Tackles: 29 Assists: 13 M.Ts: 3 Stops: 21 Stop %: 7.1
    Rank: 51 Michael Morgan Run Snaps: 42 Tackles: 5 Assists: 0 M.Ts: 0 Stops: 3 Stop %: 7.1
    Rank: 86 Heath Farwell Run Snaps: 1 Tackles: 0 Assists: 0 M.Ts: 0 Stops: 0 Stop %: 0.0
    Out of All ILBs
    Rank: 7 Bobby Wagner Run Snaps: 326 Tackles: 74 Assists: 19 M.Ts: 4 Stops: 47 Stop %: 14.4
    Rank: 83 Heath Farwell Run Snaps: 3 Tackles: 2 Assists: 0 M.Ts: 0 Stops: 0 Stop %: 0.0

    Wagner’s Run Stop % = 14.4 compared to M.Smith’s 11% and KJ’s 7.1%. Not too bad.

  21. bbnate420 says:

    OrrObb, it should say 1971 for Roger Staubach, but very good point.

    I could be going out on a limb, but I kind of doubt Tebow is going to NE to take Brady’s job. ;-) He will be a gadget player, if he even makes the active 45.

    Very good point, Sekolah. I believe that they have to make every player that there are media requests for available at least once a month during the season. Can you confirm or deny this, Eric. If true, I wouldn’t expect to hear from Tebow more than once a month.

  22. Dukeshire says:

    I would be very surprised to learn Seattle ran much, if any double eagle. USC of course ran it often under Carroll, but not here.

  23. Dukeshire says:

    “not sure this is not a better option than quinn”

    I think I know what you mean; that you feel he might be better than Quinn. But damn. I’ve read and re-read that sentence a dozen times and it has me really puzzled. lol. It can be interpreted a number of ways if one reads it enough.

    BTW, I can’t imagine any way Carroll / Schneider bring him back.

  24. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    me either duke but quinn really sucks

  25. Wilson holds the record for TD passes thrown by a rookie. He did that on a team that was stone cold dead last in pass attempts!

    He ran a little. But also, he set the rookie td pass record. On a team that was last in the NFL in pass attempts. Last.

    Yes, it’s worth repeating over and over and over.

  26. @klm
    @Duke

    Seattle doesn’t run double eagle exclusively, but they still use it. My point remains the same however – the will backer in Pete’s scheme is set up to be in position to make all kinds of tackles, along with the mike. In general you simply don’t see a lot of SLB’s making more tackles than a will if all things are equal. That K.J. Wright nearly topped 100 tackles as a SLB is something of an aberration, but he played a lot in coverage on 3rd down too.

    With K.J. now moving to will, it probably has something to do with him being one of the premier SLB’s in the league right now in terms of making tackles. If he nearly notched 100 tackles as a sam then I really wonder what he’s capable of at the will spot. We might be talking about the next Lance Briggs. By my account, K.J. was the leading tackler among all other SLB’s in the NFL in 2012. Now understand the emphasis on ‘SLB’, because there are teams in the league which also run a 4-3, but their LB’s do not all necessarily abide by strong/weakside the way Seattle does.

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