Russell Wilson is cut from a different cloth.
The 5’11″ wonder has an amazing ability to play with consistency week in and week out regardless of what team he’s playing for, what stadium he’s in, what scheme it is, and even what sport it is (word has it he was a pretty good baseball player too).
For college ball, he went east to North Carolina St. and played in a West Coast Offense before transitioning west to Wisconsin where he helped execute a power running offense. He did all of that with no drop-off in production — he actually got better – and yet many NFL scouts said he was too short to play quarterback. When someone brought up Drew Brees as a comparison, critics said “but that’s Drew Brees! He’s the exception, not the standard for short passers”.
Someone forgot to tell Wilson that.
During the preseason with the Seahawks, Wilson showed that he has all the talent that a pocket passer is required to have to make throws, possessing a strong, accurate arm, as well as great field vision — the one trait that separates Brees and now Wilson from the other short quarterbacks. Because of his performance in the preseason, he quickly went from too short to too good as he moved up from third string on the depth chart to first, and he was officially announced as Seattle’s Week 1 starter this this past Sunday.
Being named the starter in Seattle is not entirely surprising, and I’d like to think a big reason why he was named the starter was because of Pete Carroll knowing what he’s going to have from Wilson every single down.
It almost sounds comical that Carroll would know what he’s getting from a rookie, but he really does because of Wilson’s aforementioned consistent play. Wilson is very smart with the ball in his hands and he doesn’t make many mistakes when passing the ball. He also brings two other dimensions to the Seahawks’ offense that free agent acquisition Matt Flynn may not: improvisational skills and a strong arm.
The Virginia-born quarterback has an exceptional ability to make plays while on the move, and when things seem to be going all wrong. He may be forced out of the pocket and everyone appears to be covered, but he still finds a way to make a play whether it’s with his feet or making a throw with a high degree of difficulty, such as across his body and the field — which isn’t ideal, but he’s had the arm strength to make it unlike, say, Kevin Kolb.
Speaking of arm strength, the ball flies out of his hand when he’s throwing deep. With a quick flick of the wrist, Wilson sends the ball into midair before it accurately lands in the hands of his intended target. That was the case on a 32-yard first quarter pass to Braylon Edwards during Week 3 of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Wilson and the offense lined up in 12 spread personnel, which consists of one tailback and two tight ends, one of which is spread into the slot alignment.
The Chiefs were in a 3-4 front and had a lone deep free safety while the other safety, Eric Berry, aligned across the aforementioned slot tight end. When the ball was snapped, Wilson looked left as he took afive-step drop to move the single-high safety in an attempt to create space to throw to his right where Braylon Edwards was running a vertical 9 route.
However, pressure from the right forced him to move back and slide laterally to find a passing window.
After relocating, he quickly set his feet, cocked the football back and transferred his weight as he threw it deep to Edwards.
The throw was a difficult one, but Wilson made it when he threw it high where Edwards could leap up and grab it at its peak. The pass would have either landed in Edwards’ hands, or fallen incomplete.
It’s debatable whether Matt Flynn could have made this throw. Some say yes, others say no. But one thing’s for sure: Wilson can, and it’s one reason why he’s the starting quarterback in Seattle now.
Wilson’s talents are going to be a big asset to the Seahawks’ offense despite it’s heavy reliance on the power running game. The team will likely look to ease their rookie starter in by running the ball and delivering the pass off play action, but I think they’ll quickly find out that, if need be, Wilson can take over a game with his arm and win it because he’s not just too short, he’s also too good.