By Brady Henderson
Russell Wilson’s mobility helped him lead Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl during his final collegiate season, it added to his appeal when the Seahawks took him in the third round of April’s NFL draft, and it’s been evident in three preseason game in which Wilson has been good enough to win a job as a starter.
But never has his mobility been the main reason for Wilson’s success. While it’s part of his game, it doesn’t define him as a quarterback. Wilson often finds ways to subtly mention that when the topic comes up, as if to dispel any notion that he’s a run-first quarterback.
The latest reminder – as if we needed one – came Tuesday when Wilson joined “Brock and Salk” and was asked about what goes through his head when he decides to tuck the ball and run.
In addition to his stellar passing totals, Russell Wilson has rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in three preseason games. (AP)
“I never, ever think about running the football. I’m always wanting to throw the ball and if something closes, if I go through my progression and it closes, it’s like, ‘Bam.’ It happens so fast and you’re out. You’re just trying to get something positive,” he said.
Wilson was named the Seahawks’ starter largely on the strength of three impressive preseason performances. After playing in the second halves of the first two games, he started Friday night against the Chiefs and led the Seahawks to scores on their first six possessions.
As he did in the first two games, Wilson was effective both throwing and running. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He had runs of 31 and 27 yards, both coming on passing plays in which Wilson didn’t have an open receiver.
“When he takes off it’s always in a play that wasn’t designed to be a run and it’s when the defense is very vulnerable,” coach Pete Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday. “Like I’ve always said, it’s the most difficult element to deal with from a defensive standpoint because it’s so unpredictable.”
Wilson was clocked at 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, second only to Robert Griffin III among quarterbacks. But mobility is about more than straight-line speed. Mobile quarterbacks have to elude defenders by making them miss, not just outrunning them.
Wilson has shown the ability to do both. And coupled with his stellar passing performances, it’s no surprise that he was named the Seahawks’ starter over Matt Flynn.
Through three preseason games, Wilson’s passing totals are eye-popping. He’s completed 35 of 52 passes (67.3 percent) for 464 yards, five touchdowns to one interception and a league-leading 119.4 QB rating.
The same can be said for the work Wilson has done on the ground: 150 yards on 10 carries. That includes a 32-yard touchdown run.
“He’s averaging 15 yards a carry right now,” Carroll said, chuckling at the absurdity of the number.
“We want our quarterback to be like the point guard on a basketball team and give the ball to the guys and let them do their thing,” Carroll added. “He happens to add a really cool dimension in his running ability that’s rare.”