Someone has to say it, so it might as well be me: the Seahawks have their quarterback of the future, and his name is Russell Wilson. There, I’ve said it and I feel much better now. Why do I say this? There are several reasons. Let me break them down as follows.
1 – Size Doesn’t Matter
It has been stated in posting after posting, article after article, that Wilson was only playing against the second and third string defenses in the Tennessee and Denver games. But remember, he was also been playing with second and third string guys on his side of the ball. He has been protected by second and third string offensive linemen. He has been throwing to the second and third string receivers and tight ends. He has been handing the ball off to running backs who are vying to be backups. He was under pressure regularly, and handled it well. Denver’s quarterback, 6'7” Brock Osweiler, who also played with and against second and third string players, didn’t look like he belonged in the same league as Russell Wilson.
Wilson has been dominant. Despite being height challenged, he has played like a man amongst boys. I didn’t notice one instance where his height was any issue whatsoever. These were not flash-in-the-pan performances because they is consistent with his entire college career. That isn't to say there won’t be a few times during a game when his height won't cause him some problems. During the course of a season he may get some passes batted down, or even may throw an occasional interception because his vision was blocked. However, when measured against his other assets, his size won’t matter.
2 – Defensive Coordinator’s Nightmare
Wilson adds a degree of dynamism to the quarterback position that will give defensive coordinators migraines. The first thing that pops out at you is his mobility. He moves around well in the pocket to avoid sacks, extending the play with his remarkable evasiveness. He also scrambled to buy more time and was always looking up field to find an open receiver. The one particular throw he made in the game to Lavasier Tuinei (while scrambling to the right and in the process of being sacked) was a Pro Bowl play that would make Brett Favre green with envy.
His mobility also makes him a threat to tuck the ball and run, but he's smart enough to avoid big hits when he does it.
He also has a good to excellent arm. He’s made throws to the flat, along the sidelines, down the middle of the field, into the corner of the end zone, and can throw the long ball. He overthrew some passes, but he always put the ball where his guy had a chance to make a catch, but the defender didn’t. He threw no interceptions against Denver.
3 – The Field General
Wilson seemed cool, calm, collected, and in control of the offense. While scrambling around, he always kept his eyes on the action and had a good sense of when to throw the ball away. It is difficult to tell how well he has mastered the playbook, or how well he changed plays at the line of scrimmage with audibles, but it’s hard to argue with all of the scoring drives he engineered. The most impressive part of his game against Denver was how much work Steven Hauschka got kicking extra points rather than field goals while Wilson was at the helm.
Another impressive aspect of Wilson’s game was his obvious improvement from the home game against Tennessee to his game in Denver. Against Tennessee, he threw one bubble-head interception in the end zone, plus another couple of rookie mistake throws that could have been picked off. Against Denver, there were no such throws. He also didn’t seem to sell the play action very well versus the Titans, but improved against the Broncos. Overall, Wilson looked somewhat like a college quarterback playing against Tennessee. He looked like an NFL quarterback playing against Denver.
From all reports, the guy is a natural leader. His coach at Wisconsin called him the best player that he’s ever coached. That is high praise, and exemplifies Wilson's upside. [Bret Bielema, the coach in question, is now headed into his nineteenth season as a football coach and his sixth as a head coach. The guy's been around. -Ed.]
To be sure, he’s still a rookie, and he will make some rookie mistakes. However, I can think of no Seahawk quarterback, rookie or veteran, who has been as impressive as Wilson in their initial appearances.
4 – Choices At Last
Unlike the past few seasons, it is refreshing that Seattle has some legitimate options at the quarterback position. The options during that time were an aging veteran whose time had come and gone, the third string back up from another team who earned the nickname “Clipboard Jesus” in Seattle, and a veteran who has some good tools but lacked consistency in the heat of battle. Finally, in the 3rd year of the Pete Carroll era, the team has some real options at quarterback.
It may have already been determined by the powers that be that Matt Flynn will start the first game of the 2012 season. Flynn’s upside is pretty obvious. He could be an excellent game manager. Combined with the Seahawks' solid running game and upper echelon defense, that certainly would be a safe quarterback for the team to choose. He looks off receivers, sells the play action well, and moves the sticks in the short passing game. He can also throw the ball downfield, but that doesn’t seem to be his first instinct.
But even if Matt Flynn winds up being the starting quarterback for the 2012 season, it will only be a matter of time before Wilson gets his chance to start. Once that happens, neither he, the Seahawks, or the 12th Man will ever look back.
It's possible that Pete Carroll will still be undecided as to who to start for game one. If that's the case, maybe someone will call his attention to this article, he will read it, and the light will come on. He’ll say “hey, this guy’s absolutely right. I’m gonna start the rookie.” [“And hey, that editor seems like a pretty great guy, too. I think I'll send him a million dollars.” -Ed.]
Maybe I missed something, but Russell Wilson looks like the real deal.
Great article... I tend to agree that Wilson looks legit but I've learned to keep my hopes tempered. The sample size for both these guys (especially Wilson) is terribly small. Even after week 3 preseason we won't know enough. Love the idea of getting a 2nd round pick for a backup qb but I still think the qbotf has yet to be determined.
One possibility that I forgot to mention in the article: If Wilson is named as the starting QB, it is not unlikely that T-Jack will wind up as his back up. That is because Flynn would have a much higher trade value then would T-Jack. They might be able to get a 2nd or 3rd for Flynn because he is a potential starting QB. He has looked pretty solid during the preseason. T-Jack is a solid back up QB, but a 4th or 5th round pick is his top value, IMO.
@LouisLouis Interesting, I hadn't considered that possibility. A QB depth chart with Wilson and Flynn at the top of it makes me somewhat more comfortable than one headlined by Wilson and Jackson, but I also like the idea of Schneider having an extra high-round pick in next year's draft. In that case, Flynn would be in the same situation as Kregg Lumpkin in that both were brought in to fill clear holes in the roster (starting QB and Lynch's understudy) only to see the team pick up a much more exciting prospect for their position (Wilson and Turbin) in the draft.
That said, I still think it's much more likely that Jackson will be the one who gets traded or released.
I can't wait for him to shut up Softy, Bob & Groz. They're all over Matt Flynn's heat & it disgusts me. This locker room has no allegiance to Matt Flynn, & they will rally around Russellmania #12thMan