Seattle Seahawks’ rookie quarterback Russell Wilson did everything he was supposed to do in his first preseason start on Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson led three drives of which the end results were touchdowns (better results than Matt Flynn has had in two starts combined) and he showed true leadership and command of the offense.
Seattle Times recently pointed out, Wilson looked just as good against the Chiefs defensive starters as he had the previous two weeks. It’s something that doesn’t surprise head coach Pete Carroll.
“He didn’t do anything he hadn’t been doing,” Carroll said. “He just continues to show poise and the composure of a guy well beyond three games old.”
“He’s just very impressive,” wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. “You never want to use the term surprising because I didn’t know necessarily what to expect, but he’s just very impressive to watch. He’s a rookie, but he conducts the offense like a veteran.”
On Sunday night Wilson was named starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, but as Carroll pointed out, he deserved it.
“It was a legitimate competition as we said from the beginning,” Carroll said of Wilson. “With the opportunity he’s taken advantage of, he deserves to start. I just think he’s proven to us that he’s very, very capable. I think the big label that we put on this is being diminished some. Times have changed, and if we don’t acknowledge that, we’re just putting our head in the sand.”
Wilson can be a fantasy force, as he not only has a strong and accurate arm, but isn’t afraid to take off running when a play breaks down, and is very smart about it. Plus, the Seahawks will continue to draw up plays, like the one depicted below, that will open up his vision, enabling him to make smart decisions with the football.
On this particular play, the Seahawks are loading up the right side of the formation with wide receivers, while positioning tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. on the left side alone to block Tamba Hali. They also have the running back lined up next to Wilson, and will run him to the left flat hoping to keep safety Abram Elam from moving up in coverage. The four cornerbacks are in a dime-like, one deep man coverage on the receivers (which is a poor call to begin with).
The two inside receivers (Charly Martin and Terrell Owens) will run similar routes to opposite sides of the field. Martin runs a post to the middle, while Owens runs a post to the corner. The outside receiver (Braylon Edwards) runs a hitch route towards the quarterback Wilson, and will only be thrown to if the safeties Eric Berry (circled in red) and Abram Elam (circled in black) drop deep.
Ultimately the “X” factor on this play is Wilson, who gashed the Chiefs defense for two long runs to the left side of the defense earlier in the game. Safety Elam’s assignment is to keep any eye on Winslow Jr., especially if he breaks in to a route, and be in position to make a play on the running back (run or pass). Safety Berry is the spy to the left who will take a few steps forward to cut off any left side running lane for Wilson to exploit. This creates man coverage down the field for Martin and Wilson to exploit.
Wilson stays poised, Winslow Jr. picks up the blitzing Hali, Berry and Elam both cheat up, and the rookie makes a nice veteran-like throw over the top of the cornerback covering Martin for the easy touchdown.
In a sense, when I watch Wilson in that Seahawks’ No. 3 uniform, I get reminded of the abilities of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, especially with the way the rookie takes command of the field and knows how to properly read a defense.
The Dallas Cowboys have a mess of a situation at receiver. Miles Austin is benchwarmer No. 1, nursing a hamstring injury. Dez Bryant is benchwarmer No. 2, nursing a sore knee. Jason Witten has a freak spleen injury. And Laurent Robinson has bolted for Jacksonville. This leaves the Cowboys with Kevin Ogletree, some practice squad replacement players, and rookie Cole Beasley, who could emerge as a real fantasy asset.
Espndallas.com, Beasley has been working as the offense’s first team slot option, and has been raising some eyebrows. His former college coach, June Jones, isn’t surprised with Beasley’s success, as he knows how good Beasley can be.
“[Beasley] is a role player and he’ll catch the ball and he’s really smart and he plays in that 20-yard box,” Jones said. “He’s really, really good.”
The rookie pass-catcher was the Cowboys’ leading receiver (seven receptions for 104 yards on nine targets) in Week 2 of the preseason against the San Diego Chargers, and could be well on his way to becoming the next Marques Colston – beneficiary of circumstance.