Russell Wilson summed up in two plays


Russell Wilson’s place among the NFL’s QB hierarchy may always be a hot-topic for analysts and pundits to debate. It’s a simple fact of lazy sports analysis, if someone comes along who breaks the mold we’ve used to define our heroes, we don’t know what to think. And that’s the deal with Wilson, like him or not you can’t deny he’s different.

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You also can’t deny his talent.

No one in the league has Wilson’s tool belt. His combination of speed, quickness, creativity and arm talent is rare. We thought we were seeing it with Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick, but both have limitations as passers that ultimately cap their ceilings. Despite what some people think (I’m looking at you Pete Prisco) Wilson has always has been, and continues to develop even more as, a really good passer inside the pocket. Anyone who tries to box him in categorically as just a scrambler just isn’t taking the time to see the truth.

Never has Wilson’s full scope of talent been more evident than on back to back plays Monday night against the Lions. Typically, if you wanted to demonstrate the Two Sides Of Russell Wilson with tape study you’d have to make liberal use of the fast forward and rewind buttons on your DVR, but here he was kind enough to show off his entire arsenal on consecutive snaps.


It’s 3rd and 5 from midfield 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter. In a scene that’s becoming all too familiar, LG Justin Britt gets completely juked by a simple move off the snap by DT Jason Jones. Jones makes a beeline for the QB and reaches Wilson just as he’s planting his back foot in the turf. With a reverse spin move, Russell avoids the direct hit, and then sheds Jones as he’s trying to finish the sack. But he’s not done yet, Russell Okung is doing a nice job shielding Ziggy Ansah from RDE, but Wilson is forced to run right into his path. No worries, a he just plants his left foot and cuts on a dime to avoid Ansah, then as he continues running forward in the pocket he rockets a pass to Jermaine Kearse for a 34 yard gain. It’s a first down and the crowd is going nuts.


Before he can even catch his breath, Wilson is back in shotgun again ready for the Hawks next play, 1st down from the 24 yard line. He drops straight back and gets his cleanest pocket of the day, with Sweezy and Britt doing a nice jog on their interior rushers. Wilson takes a peek at Jimmy Graham running a crossing route, and he could have had that shot in the seam if he wanted it. This is where he shows his patience, and sees that the Graham route actually causes the safety to take a brief step up. Wilson then throws a perfect ball to the back of the end zone where Doug Baldwin has a step on rookie CB Quandre Diggs.

It’s the kind of throw that we’ve seen Wilson make many times, but some of his detractors refuse to acknowledge, or even see. In this instance he’s set up firmly in the pocket, making reads, showing patience, anticipation and accuracy.

There are a bunch of quarterbacks in the NFL who could make that same TD throw, but few who could pull off the scramble play he executed on 3rd down (Vick 5 years ago? Tyrod Taylor maybe? Kaepernick?) but I would argue that there are few QB’s we’ve ever seen who could make these two plays, with this kind of success, on back to back snaps.

Next: More O-line Issues; Keith's Tape Study

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