Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is in the middle of posting another incredible season. Somehow, across all these years, the daring QB has stayed healthy and hasn’t missed a single game. Having missed the playoffs just once in eight seasons, looking just as athletic as ever, there’s little reason to bet against another deep run.
He’s a physical marvel, in that sense. Sure, QBs are protected in the NFL more than ever before. But Wilson’s aggressive running game puts him in harm’s way often, similar to the new generation led by Patrick Mahomes. His athleticism leads to in-game heroics that defy belief. It makes sense, once one looks into Wilson’s practice routine, which includes brand-new drills invented just for his body and playstyle.
Russell Wilson’s over the top athleticism
Wilson’s consistent improvement over the years has led bold statements. CBS Sports thinks he’ll lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, on the back of his best season yet. Their piece isn’t just about Wilson, but much of it steers right back to his incredible playmaking abilities, in particular, his 30+ touchdown passes across the last three seasons.
Nobody else in the NFL can say the same over that time period. The seven-time Pro Bowler shows every indication that CBS Sports is right to think he’s on the path to his second Super Bowl ring.
The crew on ESPN’s First Take agree, choosing Wilson as the second-best player in the entire NFL going into 2020. Stephen A. Smith insisted that Wilson is so obviously great, so good at reading the coverage and executing moves that other QBs wouldn’t dream of, that he doesn’t even need a second Super Bowl win on his resume to be considered Hall of Fame material.
How Russell Wilson’s abilities led to the creation of innovative new practice drills
The effusive praise from CBS Sports and First Take might come off as over the top. This Sports Illustrated investigation into Wilson’s athleticism should put that criticism to bed. He is, physically and mentally, a unique talent even among the elite sphere of NFL QBs.
First, his mindset: he’s capable of staying completely calm as an enormous truck of a man charges at him. He acts at the last millisecond, usually with great success. His eyes stay pointed downfield, focused on his job: either run the ball or find his receiver.
This mental poise is bolstered by his physical abilities. He goes beyond the fundamentals of NFL QB conditioning routines, which he masters quickly. Sports Illustrated found that his trainers had to come up with entirely new, innovative drills to properly leverage Wilson’s talent.
One example is a multi-pronged HECOstix that the trainer tosses at Wilson while he stands on a spongy surface. With each throw, the trainer calls out a color. Wilson matches the color with the prong, sharpening his mental and physical game all at once.
Place among the current class of NFL quarterbacks
Wilson has already cemented himself officially as the greatest Seahawks QB of all time. His mid-career ascent comes at an interesting point, with a new generation changing the face of the game. At the same time, a strong class of generational talent is on their way out.
In a sense, Wilson was the first example of the new model QB, setting the tone that fresher faces like Lamar Jackson are following through on.
Eight seasons in the NFL means Wilson is a veteran, who has to keep up with these new talents raised on a precedent he set himself. Rather than purely innovating, they enjoy the benefit of seeing which of Wilson’s tactics worked, and which failed.
He won’t be the best QB in 2020 by most measures. But he’s going to be incredibly competitive with these upstarts, if ESPN’s sixth place fantasy ranking for Wilson is any indication. Combine that with a renewed Seahawks offensive line, and 2020 should be a key year for Wilson’s legacy.