Russell Wilson faces new pressure

Russell Wilson: Week 6 my Seahawks turning point

It’s one of those things where I’ve never had a break before this past offseason. I like to have a lot of things on my plate.” It will be wise for Wilson to maintain that approach because flying under the radar will never be part of his NFL experience again. The Seahawks will be a trendy Super Bowl pick, and the collective ascension of so many young quarterbacks means there will be more comparisons in the coming years. Instead of being cherished for being a pleasant surprise, Wilson will be judged by how he measures up to the progress of Luck, Griffin, Kaepernick and Newton. Winning alone might not be enough to satisfy his critics anymore. What we can’t see yet is how far his skills might take him.

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But over the final 11 regular-season games, Wilson’s numbers jumped to 209.3 yards per game with 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He was the NFL’s highest-rated quarterback (120.3) in the second half of the season, on his way to tying Peyton Manning ‘s rookie record with 26 touchdown passes. So what happened in Week 6 to light a fire under Wilson? He orchestrated a furious comeback victory over the New England Patriots after falling behind 23-10 with nine minutes and 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The victory lead coach Pete Carroll to put more responsibility in Wilson’s hands the rest of the season. “I definitely feel like the Patriots game’s when we really started to click ,” Wilson said on KIRO-AM’s “John Clayton Show.” Wilson also expounded on the season’s turning point in a recent interview with the Charlotte Observer. “That was a crazy, crazy game,” Wilson explained. “To come back and win like we did, against a quarterback like Tom Brady — who I have so much respect for — it really started clicking after that. That game gave me some credibility and it showed me that coach truly believed in me.” NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell is fond of saying NFL coaches tell us what they think about a player by how he’s utilized.

Colin Kaepernick out-duels Russell Wilson with 87mph pitch

Photo Credit: Football Schedule

Russell Wilson only hit 75 on the gun when he threw his own first pitch at a recent Mariners game. Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images On Friday, Kaepernicks fastball was a little low and off the plate, but to his credit, it had been awhile: Picking up a baseball for the first time in 7 yrs tomorrow to throw out the first pitch for the Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 21, 2013 87 on the first pitch. Not too bad next year Im goin to spring training to get ready! #sfgiants Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 22, 2013 His baseball talent is undeniable. In high school, his fastball reached the 90s consistently, and he received more accolades playing baseball than he did football. Nevada was the only school to offer him a scholarship. He threw two no-hitters during his prep career and had multiple offers to attend college at Divison-1 programs to play Americas pastime. But it was not his first choice. He wanted to play football all along, and the rest of the remarkable story is still unfolding.

How Good Can Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Be in 2013?


Postseason included, Wilson tallied just five turnovers in his final 13 games. To give you a bit of a historical look, it’s important to compare Wilson’s rookie campaign to other stellar rookie performances of the past (Dan Marino and Peyton Manning come to mind). But given how much the game has changed over the years, the best comparisons likely come from more recent history, most notably the past two seasons. Newton and the Panthers may have improved vastly from the prior season, but they still only won six games in his first year. That pretty much disables our ability to compare him (or any other 2011 rookie QB, since Newton topped them all) to what we saw from Wilson’s draftmates this past season. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Wilson all led their clubs to the postseason in their rookie campaigns. They did so after each of their organizations missed the playoffs the prior season. Let’s take a look at how the three stacked up as rookies this past season. 2012 Rookie Quarterback Comparisons 76.5 Statistically, RGIII had the best season, and it isn’t even that close. By those standards, his rookie performance trumps any in the history of the league. The Baylor product also helped Washington improve a great deal on the offensive side of the ball. The Redskins ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring offense (27.3 PPG) a year after finishing 26th in that category (18.0). On the other side of the ledger, Luck struggled with turnovers (23 total) review and completed only 54 percent of his passes. Wilson’s postseason performance, first against Washington and then Atlanta, is what set him apart from the rest of the rookie class. He tallied 699 total yards and four touchdowns compared to just one interception.

For Wilson, still plenty to prove after stellar debut


But by the same token, the fact Seattle won its final five regular-season games and averaged 38.6 points during that stretch is no guarantee that Wilson is destined for a spot in the upper echelon of the NFL’s quarterbacks. Wilson didn’t shoulder as much an offensive load as Andrew Luck did in Indianapolis or Robert Griffin III in Washington or even Cam Newton has over the past two years in Carolina. But to say he was a placeholder under center whose primary job included a handoff undersells what Wilson did over the second half of last season. Because while Seattle may have remained a run-first team, Wilson was much more than a game manager. He was the player the team turned to down the stretch of close games. The one who led Seattle on a 97-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter at Chicago and followed that up with an 80-yard scoring drive after Seattle’s defense inexplicably allowed the Bears to force overtime. Wilson is the player who put Seattle in position to win at Detroit in Week 8 and the one who had Seattle 32 seconds from playing for the NFC Championship after leading a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback in Atlanta. He passed for 26 touchdowns in the regular season, matching Peyton Manning’s record for NFL rookies. His improvement was systematic over the course of the season, addressing first his third-down passing then his red-zone production and finally becoming a threat to run the ball himself.


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