Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting QuarterbackRussell Wilson stands a mere 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, on a good day. At that diminutive stature, many big-time NFL pundits would say Wilson has no place playing quarterback in the league. Right?

Well, in college, the talented quarterback only threw for 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He also tossed just 109 touchdowns to 30 interceptions over his four-year career. Oh, and he did it all while playing professional baseball — selected in fourth round by the Colorado Rockies in 2010, earning his bachelor’s degree a year early and leading Wisconsin to within seconds of a Rose Bowl win following a senior-year transfer from North Carolina State.

But sure, he’s too small.

Because of his height, or lack thereof, Wilson saw himself fall all the way into the middle of the third round in the 2012 NFL draft — 75th overall — before Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks decided to take a chance. Wilson was so excited for the opportunity that he was near tears as he answered that special call on draft day, but he also knew he had a tough road ahead of him.

After plenty of hard work in the offseason and the determination to make himself a viable candidate for Seattle’s starting job, even alongside newly signed $26 million-man Matt Flynn and incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson. Wilson knew that he had what it took to be a successful NFL quarterback, and lucky enough Carroll seemed to believe in him, too.

After establishing himself as No. 2 on the depth chart after some grueling battles in training camp, Wilson excelled in his first game action. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and one interception, while rushing three times for 59 yards and a 32-yard touchdown scamper. That score helped seal a 27-17 win over the Titans in Week 1 of the preseason.

His initial showing was enough to earn him some first-team reps and even some consideration for a Week 2 start. Despite being relegated to second best for a second straight week, Wilson only worked harder.

In his second showcase, Wilson completed 10 of 17 for 155 yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns, while rushing five times for 33 yards. The numbers were rather comparable to his first action, only this time he avoided the turnover, blew Flynn out of the water and ultimately outdueled first-ballot Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and the Broncos to the tune of a 30-10 victory.

Wilson’s control of the offense was near impeccable, while his playmaking ability was outstanding. The performance was impressive all-around, something Manning seemed to notice, and was likely the reason behind the pair’s extended conversation after the game. It was really a sight to see and only further proved Wilson’s place and value among quarterbacks in the NFL.

No, he may not have the ideal height of Ryan Tannehill or the elite arm strength of Andrew Luck. But Wilson has some of the intangible characteristics that make an undersized or undesirable quarterback great (see: Drew Brees).

So while most teams and coaches search for their picture-perfect signal-caller, Wilson will continue working to beat the odds and leave his imprint on the game.

As they say, it’s not the size of the beast in the fight but the size of the fight in the beast. And Wilson’s got the fight. ow he just needs the opportunity.

NFL Trendsetters
1 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 2 INTs, 2 TDs
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Audi Cole, LB, Vikings

Rookie linebacker had two interception returns (20 yards and 30 yards) for touchdowns within 13 seconds in Minnesota’s 36-14 win over Buffalo.

2 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Record: 26-3 Win vs. Jets
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

New York Giants/Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP brought on some unwanted attention to the Giants after dumping second-year cornerback Prince Amukamara in a tub and cursing extensively in a video.

3 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 4-11, 21 yards, INT
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Jake Locker, QB, Titans

Locker didn’t have the best week under center, but he’ll still get his chance as the Titans’ starter in Week 1.

4 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 11-23, 100 yards
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins

The rookie was named the Dolphins’ opening day starter by default, as Matt Moore hasn’t shown anything special. Starting so soon could be bad move for the quarterback’s future.

5 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 10-17, 155 yards, 2 TDs; 5 rush, 33 yards
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

Wilson continues to make his case as the Seahawks’ starter, once again outdueling Matt Flynn in a 30-10 win against the Broncos.

6 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 0 rec, 5 targets
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Terrell Owens, WR, Seahawks

From one good Seahawk to one bad, Owens looked awful in his first NFL game action since 2010. He didn’t catch a pass in five chances, and to make things worse, he let a sure touchdown from Flynn slip right through his fingers.

7 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 4 rec., 82 yards
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

Jackson had a standout performance in a 27-17 win over the Patriots on Monday night. But the receiver also admitted he didn’t play at 100 percent during the 2011 season. A disgusting revelation, but props on coming clean.

8 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 2 tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Tamba Hali, DE, Chiefs

The seven-year veteran was suspended one game and fined two weeks’ pay after violating NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Moreover, Hali’s absence further impedes an already banged-up Chiefs defense. Hey, good effort, good job.

9 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Record: 26-3 Loss to NYG
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

New York Jets/Rex Ryan

Rexy didn’t feel so sexy after a 26-3 beatdown at the hands of Big Blue. Even worse, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow combined to go 14-for-25 for 128 yards and an interception, while getting sacked seven times. This quarterback controversy may be over before it’s started, just like the Jets’ season.

10 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Record: 27-24 win vs. Saints
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Jacksonville Jaguars

Justin Blackmon is in camp and started in the Jaguars’ second preseason game. He and Blaine Gabbert already seem to have a good rapport, connecting on a 16-yard touchdown. And to top it all off, the Jags are slated to play multiple home games in London in 2013, meaning more national airtime. Cha-ching.

11 Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback
  • Stats: 1-3, 5 yards; 1 rush, 5 yards
  • Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Mike Vick, QB, Eagles

Hey Mike, any chance you stay healthy for a full 16-game season? That’s two preseason games you had to leave in the first quarter. Why don’t we try throwing it away every once in a while? That way you might last longer.

 

Photo of the Week

Antonio Brown doesn’t normally score 57-yard touchdowns, but when he does, he likes to celebrate with a front flip.

Russell Wilson Earning Respect of Peyton Manning on Way to Becoming Seahawks Starting Quarterback

Quote of the Week

“I let it get to me, even though I tried not to let it. I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt — now I’m just giving it all.”
– DeSean Jackson explaining that he didn’t give 100 percent effort for the Eagles in 2011

Video of the Week

Dez Bryant may have issues, but he’s also got ups. Serious ups.

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