The Saints haven’t played the Seahawks since Russell Wilson arrived in the NFL. But New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has faced Wilson, last year when Ryan worked for the Cowboys.
It was Week Two, with the Cowboys coming off an opening-night win over the defending Super Bowl champs at MetLife Stadium. And Seattle thumped Ryan’s Cowboys, 27-7.
As Ryan and his 9-2 Saints prepare for a rematch with Wilson and his 10-1 Seahawks on Monday night, Ryan is heaping praise on the third-rounder who has become one of the very best young quarterbacks in the NFL.
“Right now the guy is one of the star quarterbacks in the league,” Ryan told reporters on Saturday regarding Wilson. “He does so many excellent things with his feet first of all, and then you can see the intelligence out there. I know it’s documented how smart he is, but it looks like he loves to play the game. He is so accurate, especially when he’s on the move, running around like he does making plays. He’s tremendous at that.”
In an era filled with running quarterbacks, Ryan puts Wilson at the top of the list.
“He’s probably the best scrambler in football,” Ryan said. “I think the guy is outstanding. We got our work cut out for us. The receivers are extremely talented. This is a well-coached team. They’ve got a hunter-killer back there running the ball. This is what you get, I guess, this time of year and this will be a hell of a challenge.”
Last year, Wilson completed 15 of 20 passes against Ryan’s 3-4 defense, adding 28 yards on seven rushing attempts. This year, the stakes are about as high as they can be; the winner has the inside track to the top seed in the NFC playoff field.