By Brock Huard
Russell Wilson can really throw, his play is infectious and he showed over the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp weekend why he has “tilted the field” at every stop of his football career.
It was as much fun watching and listening to the assembled media Friday as it was to watch Wilson spin the ball into tight windows all over the field.
Pete Carroll saw enough from quarterback Russell Wilson during the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp to include him in the competition with Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. (AP)
“Did you see him throw that receiver open?” “His spiral is as pretty as Warren Moon’s.” “I have never seen a rookie passer have this much command.” “Whitehurst never threw a pass as good as that one, or that one, or that one.”
My first minicamp practice was spent just trying to call the play correctly. Wilson’s first practice consisted of team, seven-on-seven, routes versus air and individual drills where it was difficult to find a misguided pass. Sure, he had a few passes tipped at the line and in the secondary, but his completion percentage was north of 80, and this is with guys he didn’t even know by name.
It would be fun to compare Wilson’s initial camp with his draft-day peers: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and company. While Tannehill, like Wilson, has a background in his current offensive system, I can’t imagine any of the rookie passers making more of an impression than Russell.
More importantly, everything that Pete Carroll has stressed he will be looking for in his quarterback “competition” Wilson displayed over the weekend:
1. Elevate the play of teammates
2. Move the ball
3. Accuracy and decision making
4. Commanding body language
“He’s going to be in the competition,” Carroll said. “He showed us enough, he’s in the competition.”
The rookie tryouts ended Sunday, and now the real work begins for the rookies. Meetings, conditioning drills, on-field work and soon enough minicamps with veterans, where the size and speed of the game will make it abundantly clear to the newbies they are no longer in college.
Wilson will now get reps with Ricardo Lockette, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu. Just as eye-opening, Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson will now split reps with a rookie quarterback far ahead of where they started five and seven years ago, respectively.
Flynn and Jackson will soon learn that a 5-foot-11 Rose Bowl quarterback is a lot closer in this race than Osweiler, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and Weeden would be if they were in Seattle. The kid oozes with the “it factor,” and has an arm and command that clearly puts him smack dab in this quarterback competition.
Seahawks fans will sit on the berm in August and I am sure will “ooh and ah” the same way many in the media did over the weekend. Carroll and his staff will have to figure out a way to dish out enough quality reps and work to fully evaluate the quarterback move that lies ahead. Sitting in the pole is Flynn; this is his job to lose. Jackson has the starts and experience under his belt, and Josh Portis has raw athleticism and talent.
Yet lurking is Wilson, the constant over-achiever, the want-to-be quarterback anomaly at 5-feet-11 that is out to prove the NFL wrong.
Carroll wants competition. Well, he’s got it now at the most critical position in sports. Get ready, Seahawks fans, the quarterback conversation is just beginning.