Plenty of people doubt that Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ 5-foot-10 rookie quarterback, has the makeup to be an NFL passer. But when Wilson made his preseason debut on Saturday night against the Titans, he showed all the skills that made him one of the best quarterbacks in college football last year.
Wilson came in at the start of the second half and marched the Seahawks down the field on a five-play, 73-yard touchdown drive, culminating with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards. On that pass, the ball traveled about 50 yards in the air, and Wilson put it exactly where Edwards needed it to be.
But it was the pass before that one that may have been an even better indication of what Wilson is capable of doing in the NFL. With the Seahawks facing third-and-6, the pocket collapsed and Wilson was being pressured. But he looked like a poised veteran in escaping the pass rush, rolling to his right and firing the ball downfield to receiver Charly Martin for a 14-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Those are the kinds of plays an NFL quarterback needs to make.
Wilson did a lot of things right, completing his first six passes, showing nice athleticism on a 23-yard run (which was called back by a penalty), and generally looking like a playmaker. That doesn’t mean the Seahawks’ coaches will think he’s ready to start Week One, but he did a lot of things right.
Matt Flynn started the game for the Seahawks and completed his first eight passes, but most of them were short, totaling just 50 yards. And his ninth pass was a bad interception in which he didn’t seem to see Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy. Flynn also seemed to struggle with the Titans’ pass rush, getting sacked twice and looking a little skittish under pressure at other times, although he said afterward that he thought he played well.
“I think it was alright. I think it was a good start,” Flynn said on the television broadcast. “I think overall it went well. There were some miscommunications here and there but overall a good start.”
Tarvaris Jackson, last year’s starter, was not active for the game, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he wanted to see what Flynn and Wilson could do. Wilson showed he can do plenty, and the Seahawks’ quarterback competition just got more interesting.