Seattle Seahawks: Will Russell Wilson Guide Seahawks into the Playoffs?

Dan Gigliotti@@dangigliottiCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2012

Russell Wilson impressed during his senior season at Wisconsin and in Seattle's perfect preseason. Can he continue winning as the regular season starter?
Russell Wilson impressed during his senior season at Wisconsin and in Seattle's perfect preseason. Can he continue winning as the regular season starter?Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Pete Carroll has taken quite the risk in choosing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to lead the Seattle Seahawks offense into the 2012 NFL regular season.

As far as Seattle's playoff hopes are concerned, Carroll's leap of faith may end in the Seahawks plummet to the bottom of the NFC West.

Then again, Wilson could be just the right man to play under center, when you consider his productivity in college and the impression he has made in training camp.

When looking at the blueprint for Seattle's success in the past, a winning formula has historically been devised by quarterback efficiency, not necessarily excellence. The Seahawks' all-time passing leader, Matt Hasselbeck, is a shining example of this.

Wilson earned the FBS single season record for passing efficiency in his senior season at Wisconsin—191.8.

Wilson has a good history of playing when a game matters most. Playing in his one and only season at Wisconsin as a transfer, Wilson led the Badgers to a Big Ten Championship in a 42-39 win over Michigan State by throwing three touchdowns.

In the 2012 Rose Bowl game against Oregon, Wilson threw for nearly 300 yards, completed 76 percent of his passes and scored three touchdowns in 45-38 loss.

Wilson was aided by fellow Badger Montee Ball in racking up such impressive numbers. The attention put on the shifty running back, who finished fourth in Heisman voting, which gave Wilson relief when he dropped back. Luckily, Wilson has a good running attack behind him and plenty of other weapons in his huddle to rely on during the upcoming NFL season.

Marshawn Lynch ran for a career-best 1,204 yards on 285 carries in 2011. With Wilson at the helm, you can expect Lynch to garner even more carries this season to take the load off of the first-year quarterback.

When WIlson does drop back, he has the services of capable receivers, especially Sidney Rice and Zach Miller at the tight end spot. The key is, he won't need to throw much.

When Hasselback led the Seahawks to a surprise Super Bowl appearance in 2006 and one of the greatest upsets in NFL history with a playoff win against the heavily favored New Orleans Saints in 2010, he did nothing more than manage games, often times with exceptional proficiency.

As was the case with Trent Dilfer and the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and Brad Johnson in Tampa Bay in 2002, a team can not only go to the playoffs, but can have ultimate success when a quarterback is not the superstar putting up gaudy numbers.

Wilson is a dual-threat with 150 rushing yards in three preseason games (no rushing attempts against Oakland). He proved in college he is accurate and seems to be adjusting to the speed of the NFL game just fine, going 40-for-63 for 536 yards with five touchdowns through the air.

The biggest knock on Wilson is his height. That's right, his height. If the consensus is that his height is his worst trait, Seattle fans have nothing to worry about.

According to Pete Carroll via ESPN's Mike Sando, Wilson had four passes batted down during his senior season. That's it. Even at 5'11'' tall, Wilson is savvy enough to avoid oversized linemen and maintain his attention downfield.

As Jon Gruden put it in his regular segment "Gruden's QB Camp" on, Wilson's mental toughness will be what sets him apart from the rest. The dual-sport athlete played for a short stint with a Colorado Rockies' affiliate team in Major League Baseball in 2011, so he has an indication of what it means to be a professional athlete.

The Seahawks recently completed an undefeated preseason. While that record doesn't indicate much, it is promising considering that Seattle scored on 12 of 18 drives that Wilson engineered.

If Wilson falters, they have one of the most expensive backup quarterbacks in the league to step in and play in Matt Flynn.

It is more likely, however, that Flynn gets comfortable holding the clipboard while Wilson leads the Seahawks back to the playoffs.