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Can Russell Wilson Keep Seattle Seahawks in NFC West Contention?

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Can Russell Wilson Keep Seattle Seahawks in NFC West Contention?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has helped to lead his team to a 4-3 record through seven games of the 2012 NFL season. As the weeks move along, Wilson will only become more and more comfortable with the NFL game. Some will have questions, but based on his play thus far, Russell Wilson is the quarterback to keep the Seahawks in NFC West contention throughout the season.

A third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, the biggest knock on Wilson was his size. However, so far in his young career, he has shown that, much like in college, he was not going to let that get in the way of his success as a quarterback. 

After taking the starting job in training camp from the highly touted free-agent signing Matt Flynn, Wilson has not looked back. There are several factors in both his abilities and his intangibles that speak to the fact that Wilson is indeed the man to lead the Seahawks to contention by season's end.


Leadership

Coming out of college, this was an area of Wilson's game, and extremely important as a quarterback, that was never brought into question. While it may sometimes be difficult for a rookie to grasp a leadership role, he seems to have done just that.

"He's so real that everybody quickly accepts him," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. "He sounds like a guy that's been prepared for years for this."
Via Mercury News

Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Pete Carroll has been impressed by Wilson's leadership qualities.

His ability to win the starting job, as well as his play on the field through seven weeks, has highlighted as much. What's more, is that as his young career moves along, he will only become more polished with his play on the field, as well as being a leader. The fast start in both areas bodes extremely well for him moving forward.

 

Clutch Factor

It takes a special quality to go out and perform at your best when the game is on the line. Several times in his young career, Wilson has had the ball in his hands with an opportunity to go out and win the game for the Seahawks.

His performances in such situations have only seemed to get more and more polished as the season has gone on, highlighted by overcoming a 13-point fourth quarter deficit against the Patriots in Week 6.

With the defense that the Seahawks have, many assumed that Wilson would be expected to just go out and not lose the game. Instead, he goes out and wins them. While the Seahawks won't want to make these comeback victories a trend, if that's what they can expect from Wilson in those situations, they have got to be thrilled.

 

Extending Plays

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Leading the comeback against the Patriots has been Wilson's best performance.

Wilson has shown an uncanny ability to extend the play with his legs when his first reads aren't there. In doing so, he continues to look downfield for a receiver to break free rather than panicking and taking off himself.

Once he does get outside the pocket, his accuracy throwing the ball on the run has been quite impressive. The fact that he is still looking to make plays down field once escaping from the pocket speaks to his maturity as a quarterback, pulling the ball down and running only as a last resort.

With the pass-rushers that the NFC features, and especially in the NFC West division, this will continue to be extremely important to Wilson's success from here on out.

 

The Deep Ball

Wilson's ability to uncork a throw down field with such power and accuracy is what has been most impressive about his technical on-field performance thus far. Heading into Week 7, Russell Wilson led the NFL in TD throws over 20 yards with five.

The threat of that deep strike coming at any time does nothing but help the rest of the offense. Defensive backs playing to take away that threat would allow the Seahawks' already strong running game to become that much stronger.

Against a rookie quarterback, teams would often choose to take away his run game, forcing him to beat them deep. Wilson has shown that he will gladly do just that.

 

Conclusion

Having already put together some strong performances to start his rookie season, Russell Wilson will only get better. Currently with the second highest QB rating among rookies, the Seahawks got a steal in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Wilson's play, in tandem with what the defense has been able to do on the other side of the ball, will find the Seahawks in contention at season's end. As he continues to improve, so too do the Seahawks' chances of making a January playoff run.

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