Russell Wilson Has Become A Matchup Nightmare By Mastering Two Skills

Russell Wilson has efficiently captained the Seattle Seahawks offence during a seven-game win streak, in which they’re averaging 23.5 points per game.

Wilson hasn’t put up the gaudy stats of some other quarterbacks, but he has become one of the NFL’s most dangerous players by mastering two skills.

Wilson’s known for his ability to scramble and extend plays for big throws, but with some help from his coaches, Wilson’s becoming an effective, high-speed pocket passer too.

And it’s making him an even bigger weapon, as former quarterback Warren Moon points out.

“I think it really shows people around the league … that this guy can throw it from the pocket so we better get pressure on him. But we still have to be leery that he can get outside of the pocket. In some ways, you try to rush him like a controlled rush to keep him in the pocket. But if he’s throwing this way, in rhythm like that, and you’re going to have a controlled rush, you won’t win because you won’t get to him.

“So, pick your poison.”

In the Seahawks’ 37-17 win over the Carolina Panthers last Saturday, Wilson went 15-22, throwing for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Wilson also posted a season-best 2.2 seconds between the snap and an attempted pass, more than half a second quicker than his NFL-worst season average of 2.85 seconds, according to Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times.

As Moon describes, defenses can try to rush Wilson if he’s hanging in the pocket making throws, but they have to hesitate because Wilson can escape so easily and make big plays down the field.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly described the difficulty in trying to bring too much pressure against Wilson:

“You thought you had him sacked, you could hear the crowd going crazy, you thought you had him down, then he comes out of it.”

Wilson’s made escapes from oncoming defenses one of his signature moves, like this scramble against the 49ers in Week 13:

Though Wilson’s quick throws from the pocket are still a work in progress, Pete Carroll believes Wilson’s improved his speed on throws in recent weeks.

When Wilson can combine both styles seamlessly, it will give defenses a tough decision: hang back and let Wilson make quick reads from the pocket, or attack him and risk letting him slip away in one of his signature scrambles.

This is the ideal world for Carroll: “To have that at each end of the spectrum working for us makes us as tough as we can make it.”

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