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Wilson continues to ignore the noise

Posted Oct 15, 2012

In his six-game NFL career, Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been the target of praise and also the other end of the spectrum. But he remains rock solid regardless of what anyone might say.

Ignore the noise.

It’s one of the cornerstone attributes for rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who has what coach Pete Carroll labels a “rock solid” foundation.

Wilson has admitted that he didn’t listen to the negative feedback his play elicited earlier this season, and he is taking the same steady-as-he-throws approach to the positive talk his performance in Sunday’s 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots and Tom Brady has ignited.

Instead, he leans on a line from that old Harry Nilsson song, “Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying …”

After Wilson threw two touchdown passes in the final 7½ minutes to outduel Brady, former San Francisco 49ers coach and now NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci offered, “He is mature beyond his years. He is the unlikely rookie starter and he has answered the challenge.”

Those two TD passes – a 10-yarder to Braylon Edwards on a fourth-and-3 play and the game-winning 46-yarder to Sidney Rice with 78 seconds remaining – where the icing on Wilson’s multilayer cake of an afternoon at CenturyLink Field. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 133.7. The yards, TD passes and rating were career-highs in his six-game career.

“When you are a rookie and lead your team back, it’s an incredible job,” said Michael Irvin, a Hall of Fame receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and now an NFL Network analyst.

But wait, there’s more.

In ranking the Seahawks at No. 8 in the Fine Fifteen portion of his Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com, Peter King wrote, “Amazing thing is, I was convinced the Seahawks had to beat the tar out of Tom Brady to win this game, and Brady, with 58 pass drops, was sacked only once and hit while throwing five times. Not a lot, getting hit once every 12 attempts. But this game was won with big plays from Russell Wilson when the Seahawks had to have them.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com was at Sunday’s game and summed things up this way: “Pete Carroll's unconventional approach to personnel is winning in Seattle. Critics questioned Carroll's decision to start rookie third-round choice Russell Wilson at quarterback instead of veteran Matt Flynn. … Well, Carroll is smiling with a 4-2 record and home upsets over the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. Wilson, who is only 5-foot-10 5/8, overcame a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit by throwing two touchdown passes in the final 7:21 and beat the Patriots 24-23. Wilson has the best record among the rookie quarterbacks.”

The praise for Wilson’s efforts also was internal.

Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas told Mike Silver of YahooSports.com, “That felt like a championship game. What (Wilson) did? Oh, that's big. I'm pretty sure that if some guys didn't believe in him, or had any doubts, they're on the bandwagon now. He led us.”

During his weekly day-after Q&A session on Monday afternoon, when asked about Wilson’s ability to roll with the highs as well as the lows, Carroll said, “(Russell) is really, really unique. And he’s demonstrated that in everything that we watched with him and everything that we met with him about before draft time. Through the Senior Bowl prep, everything that we ever saw we were really taken by his poise and the strength of his character and his outlook on what it takes to get it done.

“His personal drive is second to none. He’s really something. And now we watch him in the rigors of handling what’s going on here and he is just rock solid. He has not wavered and he hasn’t blinked. It’s very exciting to see him play so well as we continue to develop as a team. He had a huge day yesterday and just had a fantastic football game.”

So the equipment staff spent part of Monday fitting Wilson for a larger helmet because of all the praise that has been heaped upon him? Hardly. Buy into the notion and you haven’t been paying attention to how Wilson handles himself on and off the field.

Remember, it’s ignore the noise with him – whether it’s a symphony of praise or the jackhammer-harsh sounds of criticism.

“Always,” Wilson said. “It’s always ignore the noise, and just stay humble and keep playing. All that matters is just the way I prepare and the way I play on Sunday, and focusing on what I can control.”

With that said, Wilson was off to continue preparing for the next task at hand – Thursday night’s game against the defending NFC West champion 49ers in San Francisco.