Ten-Point Stance: Mike Freeman's NFL Notebook Heading into Week 14

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterDecember 4, 2013

USA Today

It was at the Pro Bowl when Russell Wilson and Drew Brees first met. Wilson is a budding star and isn't one to get nervous, but when meeting Brees, he was. This was, after all, his idol.  

"Just to be around him and pick his brain," said Wilson. "That's what I had been waiting for. 'Hey, what do you think on this play, what do you think on that, what are you trying to do with your footwork?'"

One of the things Brees told Wilson was to have a purpose to your preparation. "Just hearing it from a guy who's done it for so long, and done it in a great fashion, and in a great way," said Wilson. "You respect that about him." 

They are, in many ways, the same guy. Both are in the six-foot-tall range. They have remarkable work ethics, dazzling footwork and strong arms. They lead by example and have the respect of teammates.

No, check that—they are not, in many ways, the same guy. They are football twins.

"Drew Brees is a guy that I've watched over the past five, six years," said Wilson on Monday night after his Seahawks beat the Saints.

"He loves Drew Brees and what he stands for and all that,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. "But he knew from the beginning of the week that he wasn't playing Drew; he was playing against the Saints. He just worked really hard and played the game that he always plays."

What Wilson is doing isn't just following in Brees' footsteps. He's already beginning to match Brees. In just a few years, he could be better than Brees.

Now, that's partly an insane statement. Brees has a Super Bowl ring, and since 2006 Brees leads all quarterbacks in completions, total passing yards and scores. He's been prolific.

Wilson may not put up those kinds of numbers because the Seahawks run an entirely different type of offense. But Wilson is already as athletic and accurate a passer as his idol. He's also a tremendous winner. Wilson has 22 wins. Over the past six decades, only Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has won as many games in their first two seasons, according to The Seattle Times.

It's possible that one day Wilson surpasses Brees or at the very least equals his Super Bowl wins. The way Wilson and the Seahawks are playing, that day could come soon.

2. Wilson and Luck

One NFC scout on Wilson and Andrew Luck: "My guess is in two or three years they will be having some epic battles. I think they may end up being their generation's Brady and (Peyton) Manning. I'm not saying they will be as talented as those guys, but we might see those two in a few Super Bowls, battling one another."

3. Frightening

This is the scary part about what Seattle is doing. No Percy Harvin at wide receiver. In the game against New Orleans, no Walter Thurmond or Brandon Browner at cornerback. Think about that. Think about how good this team will be when it gets all of the bodies back.

4. Jimmy Graham

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 02:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by outside linebacker K.J. Wright #50 and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel #99 of the Seattle Seahawks during a game at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2013 in Seat
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Last thing on Seattle. The Seahawks were able to hold one of the most explosive weapons in football, tight end Jimmy Graham, mostly in check. He had just one catch in the second half.

The Seahawks didn't provide a blueprint on how to stop Graham, but they did show the league one possible Graham antidote. They got in his face. They shoved him all over the place. Much of the Graham coverage duties fell to linebacker K.J. Wright, who was in Graham's face all night. The key was that the Seahawks didn't let Graham run free.

5. Badass Brady

One reason why Tom Brady is so historic isn't just because he wins. That's obvious. It's when he wins.

No one closes out a regular season like Brady. He is 40-8 in his career (.833 winning percentage) in the final four games of the regular season. It's the best such number since the 1970 merger (minimum 20 starts) and tops names like Joe Montana (.745) and Roger Staubach (.800).

This doesn't guarantee winning a Super Bowl. What it does is increase the chances of winning one. If you enter the postseason on a roll, you are more likely to stay that way. It also means no one is catching you from behind.

Not coincidentally, since 2008, the Patriots have the best December record in the NFL at 22-3.

6. Aaron Rodgers' Shoulder

I've said for some time that the injury to Rodgers was worse than people understood. The implications for Rodgers go beyond this season. This explains the situation extremely well

7. Tim Tebow, TV Star

FOXBORO, MA - JULY 26: Tim Tebow #5 interacts with the media after the first day of New England Patriots Training Camp at Gillette Stadium on July 26, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

I'm hearing exactly the same as this story declares, which is that networks are drooling to get Tim Tebow on their air. I'm also told by a league source that Tebow has indeed basically given up his dream to play in the NFL. He's ready to head into television.

How good will Tebow be? Probably pretty damn good. If you've ever spent five minutes around him, and I have, he's one hell of a charming dude. I think he'll be the same on television.

The big issue with Tebow won't be likability; it's if Tebow is willing to be disliked. Can he offer strong opinions knowing that those strong opinions will alienate some and drive down those likability numbers? That will be Tebow's challenge.

8. Weaponless Andrew Luck Still Prospering

Luck hasn't been perfect this season, but he's been solid considering he's lost so many of his weapons and has had little of a running game and recently no receiving threat.  

The numbers he continues to accumulate are still impressive. His 7,167 career passing yards are the fourth most in a player's first two seasons in league history. His 10 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime are the most for a quarterback in his first two seasons since 1970.

9. 400

Indicator No. 800 billion that the NFL has rigged the game so passing is king: There have been 19 400-yard passing performances through Week 13. That's already the most in NFL history, and we still have four games remaining. Why even bother running the football?

10. Justin Tuck Not Retiring

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 27: Defensive end Justin Tuck #91 looks on from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 27, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants defeated the
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Giants end Justin Tuck is having a resurgent season. He's been brilliant, and he wants to end any discussion of a retirement now. Right now.

"I'm the same player I've been," said Tuck in a phone interview with Bleacher Report. "I'm the same guy who can get the job done."

Tuck on Tuesday was at a Manhattan Subway restaurant making sandwiches for the chain's customer appreciation month. He made sandwiches but can still eat quarterbacks.

Tuck had four sacks on Sunday night against Washington, bringing him to 6.5 for the season. How much longer can he play?

"I've got another four or five years left in me," said Tuck, who is 30. "The passion to play is still there."

Doubt Tuck at your own risk.

Statistics from NFL and team releases, unless otherwise indicated.


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