BY Art Thiel 05:41PM 09/19/2020

Thiel: Wilson’s so done with the humility stuff

Russell Wilson finally says the quiet part out loud: “I’m the best quarterback in the NFL.” A well-timed brag to back up on national TV Sunday night against the Patriots.

The Seahawks get another crack at summiting Mount Newton Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Any doubt that Russell Wilson has ascended to another level of confidence this season was erased this week.

Asked Friday by broadcaster Dan Patrick, “Do you think you’re the best quarterback in the NFL?” Wilson replied, “Do I think I’m the best quarterback in the NFL? I believe so, without a doubt.”

So . . . it is on.

Wilson v. NFL world.

Whether you label his view as swagger, arrogance, truth-telling or insufferability, is a matter of your taste. For sure, any pretense to humility that he has offered up over the years has vanished.

No more “That’s for others to say,” or “I’m just trying to get better each week,” or “There’s a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL.”

At his weekly presser Thursday, Wilson was more direct than he has been about his aspiration to greatness. What he said wasn’t exactly new, but it was said with a clarity of conviction that was notable, particularly about his place in football history.

“I come to play this game to be the best in the world,” he said, responding to a question  about New England coach Bill Belichick’s effusive praise of him. “That’s just the bottom line. I don’t wake up to be try to be anything different. I’ve always had those thoughts ever since I got here, really.

“I think it’s just been a steady process right now, going into year nine. I’m trying to break away, you know what I mean? I want to be the best in the world to ever do this.”

Wilson saluted several of his QB contemporaries — “all guys I’ve gotten pretty close to,” he said — and even threw back to Joe Montana. He wants to top them all.

“I want to be remembered,” he said. “I want to leave a legacy that people can’t ever forget. Hopefully, I can do that. That doesn’t happen without a steady process of one moment at a time, one game at a time, and not looking too far ahead.

“Just knowing that’s all part of the journey.”

The journey has a high point on Sunday Night Football (5:2o p.m., NBC) against he New England Patriots, just the fifth regular-season meeting in 27 years between the teams.

It’s unlikely that Wilson’s bravado was coincidental to his appearance on the national showcase. He seems to be on a bit of a PR campaign.

He’s already publicly endorsed the #LetRussCook movement, was named NFC offensive player of the week (the 10th of his career) for his 31-of-35 performance in the 38-25 win at Atlanta, and became only the second quarterback to rush for 4,000 yards and pass for 30,000 yards (Steve Young was the first).

If he’s in pursuit of the MVP, an award for which he has never received a vote,  a relative replication of the Falcons game against a Bill Belichick defense would give him a commanding early lead.

But the game plan may end up requiring Wilson to turn back the clock to 2019, when the Seahawks ran for more yards than all but four teams.

Atlanta has a mediocre secondary, and New England has perhaps the NFL’s best, with 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer semi-kiboshed the notion of another Wilson cookout.

“Each week is going to be different,” Schottenheimer said. “Atlanta is going to be different than New England; that doesn’t mean we’re going to run it or throw it any more. They’re just going to be different, and then (week three opponent) Dallas will be different.

“We got Russ off to a really good start, certainly that helps, hitting on all cylinders.”

While a fourth-and-five touchdown pass to DK Metcalf deservedly drew much of the post-game raves in Atlanta, the 38-yarder was Wilson’s longest completion. Less appreciated was the fact that eight of Wilson’s completions were at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Several produced rarely seen screen plays, including a beauty to RB Chris Carson for a 19-yard touchdown. Carson had a career-high six receptions for 45 yards, and a career low six carries for 21 yards.

Besides being stark departures from Seahawks form, the quick passes were also a smart way to take pressure off the pass protection that had three offensive linemen new to their positions with Seattle.

Wilson didn’t want to concede the need for help, saying the line did “a tremendous job.” But the change-up likely caught the Falcons unprepared.

“I think that’s a good mixture,” he said, “eight short ones, I’m not sure how many mid-range and we threw some long ones too.”

At least the Pats’ defense can’t be surprised by the tactics Sunday. Nor does the Seahawks defense figure to be surprised by the Pats QB, Cam Newton.

Long familiar from the frequent meetings with his old team, Carolina, Newton languished on the free agent market until signing a one-year deal with the Pats June 28 and quickly becoming the surprise successor to departed franchise icon Tom Brady.

“We do have a real good background with Cam,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We don’t know what they’re going to do with him. We don’t even have the benefit of pre-season games to kind of try to figure it out.”

In the Pats opener, a 21-11 win over Miami, they ran 42 times, threw 19. Newton completed 15 passes and ran 15 times for 75 yards, something Brady would never have attempted.  Newton appeared well over a shoulder injury in 2018 and a foot injury in 2019 that diminished the market appeal of the NFL’s 2015 MVP.

There’s a wide variety of things that he does,” Carroll said. “They did show a willingness to run him downhill, wildcat situations, which is a great way to use your running quarterback.

“We have to be ready for a very wide spectrum of offensive style. It’s a difficult preparation in that regard.”

The NFL stature of Newton, 31 like Wilson, adds to the marquee appeal Sunday. He’s also another notable QB over which Wilson seeks to climb. He’s done being reasonable.


YourThoughts

  • Bruce McDermott

    Rus “climbed over” Cam long ago. Cam’s not one of the targets anymore.

    Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.

    • Sebastian Moraga

      I had the same thoughts. I hope this is not the first chapter of the conversion of RW from team-first to me-first.

      • art thiel

        I doubt he’s found a new gospel.

      • Husky73

        It’s crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide. (Mad Magazine)

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    • Brent Hannon

      ah, but that’s an old outdated quote. in modern America, Pride goeth before a thorough dismantling of thy opponent. Book of Ali (not sure which chapter and verse).

      • Bruce McDermott

        Perhaps, but it comes from a source Russ is otherwise very fond of citing…

        • Brent Hannon

          henceforth Russ will be citing from the Book of Joe (Namath) . . .

    • art thiel

      Look at you, reverend.

      “It’s not braggin’ if you can back it up.” — Muhammad Ali

  • jafabian

    IMO DangeRuss needs to accomplish one of two things to be among the best QB’s of all time: have a QBR season over 120 or win another championship. And be the MVP of that game. He’s the only Seahawk to lead QBs in rating at 110 in 2015 but both Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have eclipsed 120. Brady has led 2x but didn’t hit the 120 mark. A QB who’s consistent, wins games and plays a long time doesn’t always get discussed with the all-time greats. See Dave Krieg. Right now Russ is right along with Drew Brees, Joe Theisman and Lin Dawson. He can leapfrog them but it’s going to take some work.

    • Kevin Lynch

      I have Russell passing the Theisman’s and Dawson’s of NFL history right now. He’s past Starr and Griese. He will eventually pass Tarkenton and Staubach. He’ll pass Otto Graham when statistics are compared without any bias. If he has a long career and stays healthy he will likely wind up in many Top 10’s all-time. It will be interesting to see if he passes Brees. I have Marino, Young and Unitas well ahead of him still. But Russell’s QB career rating is rediculous and especially his 4th quarter QB rating.

      • 1coolguy

        Where is Montana on your list? It’s Brady then Montana, then the rest. SB wins matter, EXCEPT in the case of Eli.

        • jafabian

          I put Montana ahead of Brady. Before Joe came along the Niners made the playoffs only 3x in their history, made the conference title game once and never to the championship game. The Patriots at least had an established playoff history before Tom.

          • 1coolguy

            Montana is my favorite of all time and I had Brady second as far as a career for a long time, but frankly his longevity and his 6 SB wins simply place him at the top.
            I have often regretted the essential end of Montana’s career when Leonard Marshall blind-sided him in the 1991 NFC championship game. Arguably it was the most consequential hit of all time, as who knows how many more SB’s Montana would have won, including that year?

          • Kevin Lynch

            How many Superbowls would Steve Young and Jerry Rice have won for the 49er’s if Steve was drafted and not Joe and then somehow avoided the concussions? Admittedly, Joe was the greatest all-time QB at the time he played.

        • Husky73

          Brady is the GOAT. That’s not even a debate any more. Then, probably Montana and Unitas.

        • Kevin Lynch

          I have Montana second to Brady. To me, it’s obvious Peyton is third since statistically he’ll eviscerate anyone’s choice to replace him at #3. If he played 20 years for Belicheck (sp?) with those Patriot defenses he would have played in 6 or 7 Superbowls and won most of them. Both Brady and Montana had terrific coaching and better defenses. It’s tough to compare Manning to them as he only played with one great defense, his final year, and never a great coach. Dungy was good but not in the class of Walsh and Bill B.

      • art thiel

        Still only year nine. Most amazing stat: Never missed a game.

    • art thiel

      I think his body of work has him there already. Best of all time is so subjective, but a second title would weigh a lot.

      • jafabian

        I guess the question would be what separates him from Brees? At one point Brees was mentioned in the same breath as Rodgers and Brady but the Saints mediocrity and a lack of league high numbers has diminished that talk of him, IMO. I don’t believe the season MVP award is a deal breaker. If it was Shaun Alexander would be in by now.

        • Chris Alexander

          Brees should STILL be in the discussion, in my opinion. Dude is the career leader in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, and yards.

          That said, Brady only trails him by 132 attempts (#3 overall), by 462 completions (#2 overall), and by 2,766 yards (#2 overall) and will probably play at least a season or two after Brees retires, so …. we’ll see how long some of his records last.

      • Chris Alexander

        I agree with this.

        Would also add that his 31 of 35 performance in Week 1 was the 3rd highest completion percentage ever (min. 35 passes).

        And, given the benefit of posting this AFTER the Week 2 win over New England, I can also add that Wilson’s 82.5% completion rate is the highest through 2 games in NFL history (min. 40 attempts). Also, only 4 quarterbacks have ever had 4 or more TD passes in each of their team’s first 2 games: Bledsoe in 1997, Fitz-magic and Mahomes in 2018, and RW3 this year.

        I think part of his “speaking up” about himself is about understanding that he NEEDS to if he wants recognition since a lot of the media (and fans) seems to “ignore” Seattle.

    • Chris Alexander

      Best CAREER passer ratings:

      1. Aaron Rodgers, 102.6
      2. Russell Wilson, 101.6
      3. Drew Brees, 98.4

      Everyone else is 97.1 or lower but let’s list a few of them:

      6. Tom Brady (and Kirk Cousins, tied), 96.9
      8. Steve Young, 96.8
      9. Peyton Manning, 96.5
      14. Joe Montana, 92.3
      24. Colin Kaepernick, 88.9
      34. Cam Newton, 86.1
      48. Roger Staubach, 83.4
      52. Len Dawson (tied with Sonny Jurgensen), 82.6
      55. Matt Hasselbeck, 82.4
      62. Dave Krieg (tied with Randall Cunningham), 81.5
      77. Dan Fouts, 80.2
      78. John Elway, 79.9
      97. Joe Theismann (tied with Jon Kitna), 77.4
      174. Joe Namath (tied with Norm Snead), 65.5
      176. Rick Mirer, 63.5

  • SeattleSince57

    He is in his prime, let him show it..he is amazing already.. he could even get better

    • art thiel

      The ATL game demonstrated complete command.

  • Steve

    We got best Qb since 1976, are foundation,We got a video game Qb we got finally see it, this not hall fame, but how changes Ai on video games. Man we’re lucky, Manning not this accurate. On deep.

    • Husky73

      I almost understand this.

  • Steve

    Let russ cook single cover Metcalf or lockett, make video games laugh out, on roll out

  • 1coolguy

    I am STUNNED DangeRuss has never received even one (1) MVP vote. Imagine if he were playing in a media center – How many MVP’s would he have to his name by now?
    As far as HOF, he’s already there.
    IMAGINE RW’s numbers if he ever had three (3) quality receivers! With both Olson and Dissly this year, he has the best receiving corps of his career and he just may be lights out.
    In terms of local talent, clearly with his HOF induction numbers Griffey lives in the pantheon all others look up to (I never thought I would ever see another Mays until the Kid), but RW most likely will reside in that house when he is also voted into the HOF, first ballot.
    As I told my young son when we went to M’s games, “watch Griffey, you may never see another”. I tell my grandson same about RW. He’s a gem.

    • art thiel

      The vote count is a little deceiving. There’s only one place on the ballot, not a ranking of top five or 10. So he can have a great season and get no votes because one QB is a bit better.

      The Seahawks history, like the M’s, will be measured as before Wilson and after Wilson.

      • Husky73

        Before and after Dan Wilson? Actually, that makes sense. ….Much like rock and roll— Before Brian Wilson and after Brian Wilson.