Russell Wilson has done so much in his first two seasons with the Seahawks, it’s hard to imagine what’s left for him to accomplish. But just wait, because the third-year QB is just getting started.
The Seahawks’ battle cry for the 2014 season is: What’s next? But with Russell Wilson, it could be: What’s left?
He already has won more games in his first two seasons (28, including the playoffs) than any quarterback in NFL history. As President Barack Obama offered last month during the White House visit to honor the Super Bowl champions, “And history is a long time now.”
Also on Wilson’s resume are 26 touchdown passes in 2012 to tie the NFL single-season rookie record that was set by Peyton Manning in 1998; 385 passing yards in the 2012 playoff loss to the Falcons in Atlanta, the most in NFL history by a rookie; a pair of 100.0-plus passer ratings, making him the only player in league history to do that in his first two seasons; 15 home victories during the regular season, the most by a player in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era; and a Super Bowl victory in his second season, which only Tony Brady, Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger had done.
Then there are the other QBs Wilson has beaten – the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, Saints’ Drew Brees (twice), Giants’ Eli Manning, Falcons’ Matt Ryan, Panthers’ Cam Newton (twice), Brady and Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.
But if you think Wilson is even remotely close to becoming complacent, think again – and change the batteries in your remote.
“It’s been an exceptional offseason for me so far, in terms of getting prepared for football,” Wilson said this week after one of the Seahawks’ OTA practices. “My body feels great. My arm feels really strong. My knowledge of the game has just grown so much more – exponentially more, I believe, from Year 1 to Year 2 and then from Year 2 to Year 3.
“Playing in big games like the Super Bowl, that always helps.”
Ah, the Super Bowl. Playing in the Super Bowl in only your second season is something. Winning the Super Bowl in only your second season is something else. And with that comes what could be distractions – being featured in commercials, including one with First Lady Michelle Obama and teammates Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman; appearances reserved for those with celebrity status, like attending the White Press Corps dinner and going bowling with Justin Bieber; and visiting the White House.
But things like that are distractions only if you allow them to be.
“I stayed pretty organized,” Wilson said. “I stay focused on what I need to stay focused on.”
And for Wilson, that’s definitely: What’s next? And that goes for his team, and himself.
“My goal is to continue to work on the fundamentals, continue to be engaged in the huddle and bring my guys with me and just be exceptional when we practice,” he said. “And hopefully when we hit the field come game time, we play really well.”
Just like Wilson always has – first at North Carolina State; then for a season at Wisconsin; and now with the Seahawks.
His coaches definitely are counting on Wilson continue doing just that as the Seahawks look to not so much defend their Super Bowl title, but win another one.
“Look at the quarterback we’ve got,” coach Pete Carroll said during his Town Hall gathering at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night. “He can do everything. He can stay in the pocket and throw the football. He can take off and run. He can play-fake to fool you. He can get the ball out on the perimeter. And man, can he scramble.
“A mobile quarterback is the most difficult element to defend in football.”
Carroll ran through a list of what all the things that all the things Wilson can do are capable of doing to a defense and then added, “We could talk about him all night long, about all of the attributes that makeup Russell Wilson.”
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Carroll then added the clincher: “When he starts moving, you want to standup because something great is going to happen.”
But that doesn’t mean Wilson will start running at will, and definitely not willy-nilly.
“The No. 1 thing that we continue to talk about in our meeting room is we’re not trying to run Russell Wilson and we’re not trying to get him hit,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “And that’s the most important thing for us, because we want to make sure he’s our quarterback each and every game.”
But Wilson can run the ball. We’ve all seen it. He rushed for 489 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie – including three first-half scores in a blowout win against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. He added 539 yards and another touchdown last season.
The keys with Wilson are when to run him, and how he finishes runs.
“Russell makes great decisions at the end of runs,” Bevell said. “You see him get down. You see him get out of bounds. And he doesn’t take those hits you’ve seen so many other quarterbacks take throughout the league.”
It’s a sense that Wilson has. Or one of the senses he possesses.
“The thing that stands out most about Russell is his intangibles,” Bevell said. “And really the No. 1 thing is his unwillingness to let himself fail.”