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Wassell’s 3 Thoughts: Why won’t Kurt Warner let it go with Russell Wilson?

HOF QB Kurt Warner said Seahawks QB Russell Wilson needs to improve in the pocket. (Getty)

From a former NFL MVP’s opinion of the Seahawks’ quarterback to some baseball talk both past and present, Tom Wassell of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy has some things he wants to get off his chest this week.

Here are his three thoughts:

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Kurt Warner won’t let it go

There are fewer underdog stories in the game more compelling – and satisfying – than that of Kurt Warner. We all know by now the story of the man who went from shelf stocker to Super Bowl-winning quarterback in about a year. He’s carried himself with class all the way, so this isn’t an attack on him personally. But for the life of me, I’ll never understand analysts and former players who only understand one way to win.

The other day in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton, he launched into his issues with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson not being a prototypical pocket passer and that he needed to work on that before he could truly become a top of the league QB.

First, Wilson is effective from the pocket. When he’s actually had protection, he’s demonstrated that he can run a standard “run the ball, throw the ball” offense for the Seahawks. He throws as good a deep ball as anyone and is completely in sync with the Seahawks’ receivers. I’m not sure if Warner is watching old tape or if he hasn’t watched enough tape.

Second, the reason why Russell doesn’t work in the pocket like some others is because of how he can take over a game while on the move. Whether he lacks protection or the play breaks down, this is where Wilson has always been at his best, and it’s not as a runner. Yes, he can do that too, but eluding defenders and completing passes on the move is something that most pocket guys can’t do.

The idea is to move the ball and score points, right? At the end of the day, why does it matter how Russell gets the job done for the Seahawks? We’re not handing out awards for style here. Winning is the name of the game. If Tom Brady didn’t win as much as he has, nobody would care about whether or not he threw from the pocket. It’s about the W and Russell is as single-handedly responsible for earning wins week to week as any QB in the league.

Gimme a 50-game season

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? We all know that baseball lags behind the other sports in terms of its game to game urgency. What an opportunity MLB has in front of it to just pack excitement into every single contest! Although I’ve campaigned on-air for shorter seasons and even shorter (seven innings!) games, I don’t think this is the long-term answer. But once the fans get a whiff of what baseball will be like in such an intensive configuration, I’m thinking owners won’t be able to help themselves from shortening it at least a little bit in the future.

The right number probably lies in the 100-120 range. They say every team wins 60 and loses 60. It’s the remaining 40 or so that determine who’s a contender and who isn’t. Alright, well, let’s shave those 40 out and see which teams can deal with the added pressure of winning NOW as opposed to later. Exciting? I think so.

Plus, think about the 2019 Mariners. Over the first 50 games last season, they were 23-27 because of that infamous 13-2 start. Now, that might not have gotten them into the playoffs, but we sure would have been glued to the TV/radio every night because they would have at least been IN the race. Fluky things can happen. Let them happen. I know the book is better than the Cliff Notes, but this book is currently too darn long.

Randy Johnson: The best ever?

In football, we talk about physically-gifted athletes far more than we do in baseball. Sure, you need to have a baseline physical ability to be a professional athlete in any sport, but things like hand-eye coordination, torque, and even brain power can supersede brute strength in baseball.

Except in the case of Randy Johnson. I’ve seen quite a few of his starts both with the Mariners and the Diamondbacks on MLB Network and ROOT Sports lately. It’s a wonder how any batter ever got a hit off of this guy. The lanky 6-foot-10 lefty is as imposing a threat on the mound as has ever lived for a few reasons.

One, he was just wild enough to keep you on your toes. If a hitter has it in the back of his mind that a 95 mph-plus fastball or slider could be coming right at him, he’ll at least be guarded. Second, the way his slider broke inward and handcuffed right-handed hitters and broke away from left handed hitters left all batters virtually no advantage against him. Even guys like Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux had to occasionally get help from umpires to establish their strike zones to be effective. Randy needed no such thing. He could just go after you.

Third, we got the raw version of Randy in Seattle. Once he went to Arizona, he became more of a true pitcher rather than a thrower. Those are his words if you care to look them up. All of that power, all of that talent, mixed with all that experience made him downright deadly. Four Cy Young Awards in a row? I know that era of baseball centers around guys like Barry Bonds, who won four MVPs in a row, but Randy (probably) didn’t need the same chemicals that Barry did to accomplish what he did.

In a period where most power hitters were gassed up beyond belief, they still had to hit the ball, and against Randy that was near-impossible. Again, I’m not sure how anyone ever got the bat on the ball, unless they were just lucky that day.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell on Twitter.

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