Introducing the Worst NFL Starter You’ve Probably Never Heard of

09.15.08 9 years ago 88 Comments

This is Brian Russell.  He’s the starting free safety for the Seattle Seahawks.  He is fucking terrible.

If you’d like to know why the Seahawks have four Pro Bowl starters on defense but still give up 30+ points to the Bills and 49ers, Brian Russell is your answer.

If you’re wondering how J.T. O’Sullivan can get sacked 8 times, but still throw for 321 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions: Brian Russell.

Did you see that Isaac Bruce, who is something like 47 years old, got 153 yards on only 4 catches?  There’s a secret ingredient to that formula, and his name is Brian Russell.

How does he do it?  How can one weak link in the defense fuck the team over so hard?

I asked John Morgan of the Seahawks blog Field Gulls to explain:

Russell played quarterback in high school, but wasn’t recruited by a single Division 1-A program. There are 119. In true white-man hustle fashion, he convinced San Diego State head coach Ted Tollner to give him a scholarship. Tollner is a typical pass-around coach that never fails to find a job because of a good attitude, little ambition, and rampant cronyism. From the start he and Russell were kindred spirits. Russell was given the starting quarterback job in his second season. His third season, he was converted to safety.

Russell wasn’t invited to the combine and wasn’t drafted, but white-man hustled his way onto the Vikings. Dennis Green wanted to cut him, but defensive coordinator Willie Shaw fought for Russell to make the practice squad.

That player, a former quarterback, not offered a scholarship at division 1-A and not drafted by the pros, turned 30 this February. The kid who never had the skill to play at this level, who made rosters as a Rudy and started strictly for soon-to-be-fired head coaches, has lost speed, quickness, agility, strength and endurance. It shows. In 20 games for Seattle, Brian Russell is either not seen, seen evading a running back, seen in passing as the camera pans towards a deep receiver, or seen delivering a late hit on a tackled opponent. He’s all mouth, no pigment; leadership and no ability. The rah-rah sycophant with tacit tenure that never played his way on the roster so literally can’t play his way off. In 2007, his average tackle against the run was 9.9 yards down field. He missed many more. Despite being a cover safety, Russell participated in only 6% of opponent’s pass plays and recorded only three pass defenses. But when you were signed for your leadership, chatter and hustle, trying harder but sucking more is stepping up your game.

In simpler terms:

  1. Stand twenty yards off the line of scrimmage.
  2. ???
  3. PROFIT.

You know how Reed Doughty is the only white guy on the Redskins’ defense, and how funny it is because he sucks?  Brian Russell is the broke man’s Reed Doughty.  To call him the Tarvaris Jackson of safeties would be a compliment.

In summation: you are fucking terrible, Brian Russell.  Get fucked.  Or at least give the team a couple reps at wide receiver.

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