After months of competition for the spot, Russell Wilson took to the practice field on Monday as the next starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.
It may have come as a surprise for those who thought Matt Flynn would get the starting nod based upon his signing of a sizable contract and solid performances in the preseason, but it should not be too surprising for those who believe head coach Pete Carroll’s mantra of competition.
For those who thought it was just lip service by the coach, the proof is demonstrated in the guy now slotted to be taking snaps when the Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals in the opening game of the season.
According to Carroll, Flynn did not do anything to lose the job; it was just that Wilson was much more remarkable. While it had been a competition dating back to May, Carroll said Wilson’s play against the Chief’s sealed his decision.
“I’m just impressed that Russ could play so well and so consistently,” said Carroll, courtesy of Seahawks.com. “When you look at how fast he is, how strong his arm is and his accuracy, and you take all of those intangibles...you can see it happening.”
It is happening. In just a few short months, Wilson has demonstrated that he has what it takes to lead this football team.
During Carroll’s Monday press conference, he listed some of Wilson’s intangibles, such as his timing, awareness and the fact that Wilson is extremely competitive—a lot of things that “can’t be coached.”
Wilson even sounds like he’s in a competition for more than just the Seahawks' quarterback position; he wants to beat out everyone in life to become the heavyweight champion of competing.
“I’m always competitive,” said Wilson. “I believe I’m the biggest competitor in the world.”
To complement his obvious competitive nature, he has a desire to continue to get better, and talked about just how important it is to him to focus on the details, continue to improve and set high expectations for himself.
“There’s a lot more room for me to grow, and I’m excited about that,” said Wilson. “My goal, every time I step on the football field, is to be great.”
Listed at 5’11”, Wilson said being a short quarterback has been part of his motivation. He has clearly heard the criticism of his height, which has been suggested as the prime reason for his fall into the third round of the draft, and it has helped fuel his desire to prove he is capable of being a great quarterback.
During his Monday news conference with reporters, he also showed admiration for veteran teammates Leon Washington and Braylon Edwards. Wilson appears to be developing great chemistry with Edwards, and Wilson had nothing but praise for Washington who threw an amazing block on Chiefs safety Eric Berry in Friday’s game, allowing him to rack up some additional rushing yardage.
While the entire line of questioning he faced was mostly about him, he demonstrated his recognition of a bigger picture.
“For my name to be called for this football team—it’s pretty special,” said Wilson. “I’ve tried to do everything to prepare myself and prepare our football team to be great.”
Wilson attributed his ability to prepare for this situation to his transition from his junior year at North Carolina State to his senior year at Wisconsin. Just months after leaving the Wolfpack, he immediately took over as the starter for the Badgers and went on to lead them to the Rose Bowl.
“I’m blessed to have this opportunity to be the starter for the Seattle Seahawks,” said Wilson. “It’s been something that I’ve been working for my whole entire life. To have this opportunity is truly spectacular.”
Brandan Schulze is a Navy veteran and member of the Military Sea Hawkers, the military chapter of the official booster club for the Seattle Seahawks. For more information on the chapter, visit www.militaryseahawkers.com. Membership is free for all military service members and veterans.