As the first game of the 2014 regular season approaches, the notion that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will make a major step forward in his third NFL season seems to be catching plenty of momentum, especially in light of his performance in the preseason.
Two of his high-profile teammates definitely believe in Russell. As do Wilson’s two most important coaches.
“I think he’s being incredibly decisive this year,” cornerback Richard Sherman told reporters on Monday. “He knows who he is, he knows what he wants to do and he’s doing it. He’s not wondering what he’s going to do going into plays. I think he goes into plays anticipating what he’s going to do, dictating what the defense does, and executing. I think that precision is going to take him a long way and take our offense very far. I think he’s come into his own in that respect.”
Sherman described Wilson in one word: “Dynamic.”
“With our offense, it’s unique in how many things they can do,” Sherman said. “You can run the fly sweep with Percy [Harvin], run it down their throat with Marshawn, you can take them deep with any number of our receivers. There’s so many unique qualities about our offense. It’s a combination of the West Coast, Zone Read, the Read Option, but it also has the bubble screen. It’s so many different things that it allows him to be dynamic. It’s hard to put him in a cookie-cutter mode. So he’s out of the pocket, he’s a roll-out quarterback, but he also sits in there and throws it. He’s doing a great job of doing that this year.”
“The sky is the limit for that guy,” Harvin said of Wilson. “Anybody that has been watching the preseason, he’s been lights out. He’s been controlling the ball, he’s had the offense at a great tempo making sure the linemen get to the ball, making sure the receivers get to the line, get the calls right so we can get up and go in a timely fashion. All the keys he wanted to work on this offseason, I think he’s done a heck of a job.”
Coach Pete Caroll offered similar praise of his starting quarterback.
“He’s in great control of what’s going on,” Carroll said. “He’s very, very comfortable. He’s playing faster than he has at any time. He understands better of what we want. He really can play on the expectations of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and making sure that he can control rushing that regard. He’s in tune with that better than ever. We have a large package of stuff that we can bring into a game plan that we’ve feel like we have command of. We will see, and he’s had a near perfect preseason. Preparation and the way he has worked, we almost scored every time.”
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell explained that Wilson’s drive to excel has been a key ingredient in his growth.
“Every time he comes out he tries to improve on the whole game,” Bevell said. “There’s little subtle things that he’s working on himself, but just his overall understanding. Every time you run a play, you understand it a little bit deeper. There’s some new things that we’re asking him to do so he wants to be able to master those. Just the overall understanding of the offense, knowing where to go, when and why so that he’s able to play fast and free.”
But Wilson still has some improving to do to get to the top of the league. When talking about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Sherman said, “He’s arguably the best quarterback in this football league. I’d say it’s between him and Peyton Manning.”
That’s hardly a hot take. It’s reality. But if Wilson can do all year long the things that he’s been doing in the preseason, Sherman and everyone else will be including Wilson in the short list of best quarterbacks in the league.