Pete Carroll on Russell Wilson's toughness: 'That's just the way he is'

Of all the statistical accomplishments Russell Wilson has achieved, the number that stands out is zero – as in plays missed. Because the third-year QB is there every play, every day, he’s on the verge of adding another milestone to his resume.

Russell Wilson is on the verge of producing another forehead-slapping feat.

If the Seahawks defeat the Carolina Panthers in their divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, Wilson will tie Matt Hasselbeck for the most postseason victories in franchise history.

And as with everything else that Wilson has accomplished since being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, this one will come with style points. Hasselbeck's five victories were spread over four seasons (2005-07 and 2010) and six playoff appearances, while Wilson can get his fifth in his third season.

So this seems like a good occasion to connect the dots between many of the other boggling numbers Wilson has compiled:

36 – Regular-season victories, the most by a quarterback in his first three seasons during the Super Bowl era that began in 1966.

40 – Combined victories in the regular season and postseason, also the most by a QB in his first three seasons during the Super Bowl era.

POSTSEASON PASSERS

A comparison of the quarterbacks who have started postseason games for the Seahawks:

Quarterback (seasons) W-L Pct.
Russell Wilson (2012-present) 4-1 .800
Matt Hasselbeck (2003-07, 2010) 5-6 .455
Dave Krieg (1983-84, 1987-88) 3-4 .423
Jon Kitna (1999) 0-1 .000

"I think winning is pretty important," coach Pete Carrol said. "And Russell has kind of demonstrated that in kind of historic fashion with the club he's been on. He'd be the first to tell you that it's not all him, but he's been on a team that's won, for the QB, better than anybody in the history of the game. So that's pretty cool, I think."

313/106 – Passing and rushing yards in the Week 7 game against the St. Louis Rams, making Wilson the first QB in the 95-year history of the NFL to have at least 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game.

201/122 – Passing and rushing yards in the Week 5 game against the Washington Redskins, making Wilson the first QB to pass for at least 200 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in the 45-year history of "Monday Night Football."

849 – Rushing yards this season, which led all NFL QBs and also is the fifth-highest total by a QB in league history.

72 – TD passes in his first three seasons, the sixth-highest total over that span in NFL history behind Dan Marino (98), Andrew Luck (86), Peyton Manning (85), Andy Dalton (80) and Jeff Garcia (74).

100.0/101.2 – Wilson's passer ratings in his first two seasons, making him the only player in NFL history to record at least a 100 rating as a rookie and in his second season (His rating was 95.0 this season).

If only there was a stat to underline one of Wilson's most impressive intangibles: Toughness.

There is, and leave it to Carroll to come up with it: 0.

That's how many snaps Wilson has missed in his first three seasons. Games. Practices. Walkthroughs. OTAs. You name it, and Wilson has been there. His backups have thrown 23 passes, but that was at the end of games that already had been decided.

"He's been amazing," Carroll said. "He isn't coming out of a game. He's not going to miss a practice. He hasn't missed a play since he's been here."

Another indication of Wilson's toughness is how he handles questions about his durability and ability to take a licking and keep on ticking. He doesn't look for the nearest piece of wood to knock on. He even jokes about the situation, referring to his "short, squatty" body that allows him to duck the big hits and absorb the rest.

"I make sure I take care of myself throughout the week," Wilson said this week. "I make sure that throughout the offseason I get my legs prepared and squat a lot (in the weight room) and get my legs ready to go, so that way if I do take hits I'll be alright.

"Also at the same time, I think that it's just protecting the team, in a way.  Protecting the quarterback and just getting down and making smart decisions and don't take any unnecessary hits. I just try to play the game the right way, the way it's supposed to be played. I know that I can run and make things happen. But at the same time, I'm always looking down the field to see if I can find somebody. If it's not there, get out of bounds or get down."  

While the elevated level of Wilson's toughness wasn't readily apparent when he first arrived, it was there nonetheless.

"That came along with him," Carroll said. "You could just tell by the sights that he has set for himself, the standard that he works by and lives by, playing two sports, playing professional ball. All of the things that he has handled, that comes from a guy with real grit. He has to be a great competitor to do all of the things and act the way he acts and perform the way he performs.

"So that was never a question at all. There were other issues that we were concerned about, but it certainly wasn't his makeup and the toughness and all."

But because of everything else that Wilson has accomplished in such a relatively short time, the fact that he has always been there to accomplishment them often gets overlooked.

"I don't think it's been pointed out how consistent he has been and the durable nature he's demonstrated in the style of play that we have," Carroll said. "He's not just throwing the ball and getting rid of it all the time.

"He's all over the field and doing all kinds of things."

And toughness is such an important, if underrated, aspect of a quarterback's game. In 2011, the season before Wilson arrived; Tarvaris Jackson played the final 10 games with a damaged pectoral in his throwing shoulder. He didn't practice much, but he was there to take the snaps on game day. Jackson's toughness impressed his teammates, and Jackson has been impressed with the way Wilson has handled the punishment that comes with the way he plays the game.

"He's a tough guy," said Jackson, now Wilson's backup. "He takes a lot of shots. And with him running the ball, that's extra hits that he takes. But he does a very good job of protecting himself and staying healthy. And that's key.

"And that's part of our system. We always say, 'Protect the quarterback.' Whether it's (pass) protection or getting down or getting out of bounds, we always protect the quarterback because part of your job is playing the next play. He understands that's part of his job and he does a very good job of that."

And Jackson isn't the only one who has noticed. When the quarterback is willing to lay it on the line for his teammates, his teammates are willing to reciprocate – and then some.

"These guys are smart," Jackson said, glancing around the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center before one of the practices this week. "They know when guys are hurt. They know when guys are putting their body through everything just to be there for the guys next to them. That's the way our team is built, and Russell is one of those guys."

And that would be a tough guy, which also has allowed Wilson to be such a productive guy.

"He's just a tough, gritty, hardnosed competitor," Carroll said. "That's just the way he is."

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