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Confidence comes naturally for Russell Wilson

Posted Sep 12, 2013

With six fourth-quarter comebacks in his 19-game NFL career entering Sunday night’s home opener, Russell Wilson is proving to his coaches and teammates that the confidence he oozes is the real deal.

When Russell Wilson walked through the door at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as a rookie last year, he did it not only confidently but exuding a confidence that belied his status as a third-round draft choice.

His teammates and coaches quickly noticed, as Wilson quickly set about winning the starting quarterback job – not to mention the confidence of those coaches and teammates.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell smiled when asked about the reality-versus-perception aspect of the confidence and enthusiasm Wilson showed during his rookie season, and continues to display as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday night’s nationally televised and highly anticipated home opener against the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field.

“I think you are trying to see if the makeup is real,” Bevell told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “He oozes it and he has it the second that you start to talk to him. All you guys all know him. He has that. At first, you’re kind of like, ‘Hey, is this really real?’ The longer you are around him, obviously it’s all him – that way; all day, every day.”

Then Bevell went somewhere that was unreal – if not surreal.

“I can liken it back to when we brought Brett Favre in with our team,” said Bevell, who was the offensive coordinator for five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before joining the Seahawks in 2011. “We had other quarterbacks going on (including Tarvaris Jackson, now Wilson’s backup with the Seahawks).

“When we brought him in, Brett kind of had a little bit of a belief and then there was the first game that he goes out there and he wins the game at end of the game on a touchdown pass and everyone is full- board in and they’re able to say, ‘OK, this is our guy,” because he oozes that and believes that. Russell is kind of the same way. That he oozes that and he believes it and once you start making those plays, everyone around you is all-in and they believe that he has the ability to lead us to where we want to go.”

But Favre’s ooze came from having led the Green Bay Packers to back-to-back Super Bowls and being named league MVP three consecutive seasons.

And Wilson’s comes from, well, just where does that air of confidence in confidence-melting situations come room?

“My dad used to always tell me, ‘Big-time players make big-time plays in big situations,’ ” Wilson said on Thursday. “And I think that for me, I live up to that. I’m waiting for that moment. I’m relaxed in those moments. I try to be calm in the storm for all the other guys in the huddle. For the other 10 guys in the huddle, I want them to know that I’m composed, I know what I’m doing, I’m relaxed, I’m ready to go. 

“So I think that’s what kind of gives me the peace.”

Like the way Wilson rallied the Seahawks their 12-7 opening-day victory over the Panthers on Carolina by throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse with 10 minutes left in the game and then burned the final 5½ minutes by completing each of his four passes for 54 yards in a nine-play drive that took Seahawks from their 8-yard line to the Panthers’ 22 before he took a knee three times.

It was the sixth time in his 19-game career, including playoffs, that Wilson had led a fourth-quarter comeback. In those games, he was matched against the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, the Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Bears’ Jay Cutler, the Rams’ Sam Bradford, the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III and the Panthers’ Cam Newton. All those quarterback were first-round draft choices, with the exceptions of Brady and he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

With Wilson’s teammates, seeing is believing – even if there could have been some initial disbelief involved.

“Well, he hasn’t proven us wrong yet,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said when asked about having confidence in Wilson in clutch situations. “For a young guy, for a rookie last year, I think he went out there and performed admirably.

“So I think I have the utmost confidence in him. Anytime we’re down in the fourth quarter, as a defense we never think we’re not out of the game. We always believe that our offense is going to do down there and drive and get the game-winning score.

“When they prove it, you have to believe it.”

And his teammates and coaches definitely believe in Russell Wilson.