Russell Wilson: Grading Seahawks' Rookie QB's Performance vs. Chiefs
Wilson looked as good as anyone could have expected in this contest, posting 13 completions on 19 attempts with 185 yards through the air. This stellar performance started in the first half, where he completed 10 of his 15 passes for 139 yards with two touchdowns.
The great start to the game wasn't based simply on his arm, however, with Pro Football Talk noting via its Twitter account some great rushing stats by the young gun:
Russell Wilson now has runs of 31 and 27 yards for the Seahawks.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 25, 2012
The first half was nothing short of impressive from the Wisconsin alum and it hasn't gone unnoticed by NFL experts, such as ESPN's Mark Schlereth and Bleacher Report's own Aaron Nagler. Both tweeted their thoughts on the Seattle quarterback contest during the exhibition game:
Russell Wilson Taking the starting job in Seattle— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) August 25, 2012
Josh Freeman looks terrible. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is winning the Seahawks starting job.— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) August 25, 2012
Alright, so we've talked a bit about Wilson's overall performance against the Chiefs, but let's take out the microscope and dig a little deeper, shall we? Here's a report card breaking down the rookie quarterback's first NFL start.
Wilson could have easily had more completions to add to his already-solid night if not for several drops by wide receivers like Terrell Owens. He had three notable drops that were nobody's fault but No. 10's.
T.O. did his best to make it up to Wilson, however, notably on a 40-yard completion halfway through the first quarter. The pass was a tad behind the veteran receiver, but Owens made the necessary adjustment to help complete the play.
The former Badger had very few passes where he didn't put the ball in a position for his receivers to catch it. He also didn't lose effectiveness in the red zone, helping Seattle score 12 points with his arm.
Nineteen passing attempts isn't a huge sample size, but part of that reason is due to the Seahawks defense and special teams really dominating the Chiefs in the third quarter. Toward the latter of the quarter, Seattle had an interception returned for a touchdown, and Golden Tate took a kick return to the house.
It would have been great to get to see a little more from Wilson to see if his accuracy fell off in the fourth quarter due to fatigue. Going off what he showed tonight, though, there's reason to believe he could snag the starting job by the start of the regular season.
Command of Offense: A
In the last Seattle possession of the second quarter, the Seahawks' drive was saved by a defensive penalty. Wilson responded to this gift from the Chiefs and marched his team down the field largely thanks to his own play, ultimately leading to his second touchdown pass of the night.
Those types of drives are what make the players around a quarterback start to believe that he should be "the guy." Those moments build trust between a quarterback and his unit, and that's exactly what Wilson did just before the end of the second quarter.
Keep in mind this is a Kansas City defense that ranked 11th in the NFL last season without safety Eric Berry patrolling the field for much of 2011. Wilson helped Seattle hang 30 on much of the first-team D before the third quarter even ended.
Yes, it is preseason, but Wilson kept keeping Seattle drives alive long enough to get into Kansas City territory all night long. That shouldn't go unnoticed just because the game isn't being counted.
Pocket Presence: B+
The rushing yards not only put up some nice numbers, but Wilson knew when to use his legs and when to use his arm. Often the trouble for young quarterbacks who can scramble is that they choose that option too much in their early NFL days. Heck, it's something that Michael Vick still struggles with.
Wilson knew how to handle pressure in the pocket and did his best to convince viewers this wasn't his first time starting in the NFL. The Chiefs were only able to sack him once all night and honestly didn't have a whole lot more opportunities to do so thanks to the Seattle offensive line.
The moments where he was knocked down, Wilson didn't shy away from the hit the way fellow quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassel have shown during their first number of preseason games.
Notably, Cassel threw a pick-six interception in the third quarter due to throwing off his back foot in an attempt to avoid the Seattle pass rush. Despite Wilson being the lesser NFL-experienced of the two in this preseason contest, he looked more comfortable in the pocket than Cassel.
Wilson couldn't have auditioned for the Seattle starting quarterback position in a grander fashion than he did against Kansas City, and it wouldn't be the least bit shocking to see him win the job.
Final Grade: A-
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