Russell Wilson may not be generating as many headlines as fellow rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but there’s no reason to overlook him.
In some ways, the Seattle Seahawks rookie is doing just as well as his more talked-about colleagues. He’s had a solid rookie campaign, proving many doubters wrong.
“I always believed in my talents,” Wilson, a former star at Wisconsin, said this week during a conference call with Chicago media. “So when I was drafted, I knew that they obviously liked me a good amount. I just knew that it was a situation — no matter what the circumstance it was, no matter where I was going to go — I was going to put my best foot forward and try to do everything I can to compete at the highest level.
“I knew that I’d be ready. I knew that I would prepare in the right way. It helped me a lot to get ready. Coach [Pete] Carroll told me basically right after rookie mini-camp, the last day, you’ve got an opportunity to be the starting quarterback here for the Seattle Seahawks. I was ready for that.”
After beating out veteran Matt Flynn in the preseason, Wilson has completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 2,051 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He also has a very impressive 93.9 passer rating.
The Seahawks do a lot of things with Wilson, who may be short at 5-10, but possesses more than enough athleticism to find throwing lanes, evade pass rushers and extend plays.
“I know that I’m a shorter quarterback; I know that I have to stay tall; I know that I have to have a high, quick release, throw the ball on time,” Wilson said. “I know I have to understand the game and understand the defenses. That’s what helps me. I know where people are going, I know where they’re going to be, and obviously my feet help me a little bit too to extend the play and get away from some pressure at times.”
The Bears may be catching Wilson at an unfortunate time too. He’s coming off a solid outing in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and a 125.9 quarterback rating.
Since Week 5, Wilson has the sixth highest passer rating at 105.3, trailing Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Griffin III.
Wilson has excelled through play action this season. According to Pro Football Focus, 32.8 percent of his passes have come on play action, the second-most among quarterbacks.
Wilson has played at Soldier Field before too. He led Wisconsin with 347 passing yards and three TDs in a 49-7 demolishing of Northern Illinois last September.
“It will be a great game in a great venue,” Wilson said.
Wilson made sure to watch the game film of Colin Kaepernick’s stellar performance against the Bears two weeks ago. The goal, of course, is to do the same.
“He extended plays, he made some plays, he made some great checks,” Wilson said. “Our offense is similar but a little bit different. Some of their formations that they run are a little bit different than ours.
“But I just think he took advantage of the game-altering plays. When things were there, he capitalized on the throws. That’s the thing about this league. You have to capitalize when the game-altering plays are there, and he did a great job of that.”