Seattle Seahawks News: The Miracle Of Russell Wilson And Matt Flynn's Curse

 @twitter.com/#!/cerebralsportex  on August 27 2012 11:05 AM

Hey Matt Flynn, you've clearly had a tough week after losing the starting job you were signed to inherit to rookie Russell Wilson but America wants to introduce you to somebody. His name is Bledsoe.  Drew Bledsoe. Drew, this is Matt. You fellas should have drink. You've got a lot in common. Perhaps talking about your similar failures will make the pain go away.

Bledsoe's career didn't end after he was replaced by Tom Brady. He continued his career with the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys before he was again replaced by another no-name. Tony Romo.

Worst case scenario, you can force a trade before the 2013 season. If you need a celebrity to provide guidance we'll schedule your appearance on Conan O'Brien's guest couch.

In 2004, O'Brien signed a new NBC contract, which would give him the coveted 11:35 timeslot that Johnny Carson and Jay Leno made famous. However, slowly but surely everything fell apart. After a few months, NBC returned Leno returned to the 11:35 slot as host of a 30-minute broadcast, and The Tonight Show was relegated to second-string at 12:05.

Ultimately, an unhappy O'Brien negotiated his exit strategy from network television to cable where he currently hosts Conan on TBS. I use that anecdote to illustrate that despite viewing the Seahawks as your opportunity to flee Aaron Rodgers' shadow as Conan sought to escape Leno's, it likely won't happen in Seattle.

You've got to find your TBS-next season.

In the meantime, Mr. Wilson, you should speak with Sir Brady. Introduce yourself to Drew Brees and Doug Flutie while you're at it. You share something in common with all three of them.

General manager John Schneider, who drafted you says you're upside is the closest to Brees' he's ever seen. Amazingly enough, you're actually two inches shorter than the Saints undersized record-setting quarterback. You resemble a thicker Doug Flutie from a physical perspective, with better mobility but a better pocket presence.

Pete Carroll, you should study the history of Bledsoe and Brady as you begin the 2012 season with Wilson as your starter.

Matt Flynn's three-year $19 million contract is chump change compared to the $100 million Bob Kraft gave Drew Bledsoe two years after they fired you. Seven months later, after a thunderous hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis collapsed Bledsoe's lung, the $100 million dollar quarterback was looking up at Brady on the depth chart on their way to the first of three Super Bowls.

Much like Trent Green's torn ACL that pushed Kurt Warner into the St. Louis Rams starting job in 1999, Bledsoe's injury was almost like an act of God. Wilson's ascension is both miraculous for Seahawks fans and tragic for Flynn.

Unlike Brady, Wilson is a rookie who stands almost six inches shorter.

Take this into account as well. Russell Wilson is one of the few rookies drafted outside the first two rounds to start the first game of their rookie seasons.

Chicago Bear Kyle Orton, Baltimore Colt Mike Kirkland in 1978 and in 1982 Mike Pagel, another Colt started but only as emergency starters over injured incumbents.

Randy Hedberg started the first game of the Buccaneers '77 season while Jim undrafted rookie Jim Zorn started the first game in franchise history.  But that's just one count against Wilson. The main concern has been his height. At 5-foot-10 and 5/8 inches he's the highest drafted sub-six foot quarterback in the last 15 years.

All of you should listen.

There are two classes of signal callers. There are NFL quarterbacks and there is a minority of height challenged NFL pennybacks. The latter group are given that designation as a result of their paucity of height in correlation to the difference in size between the smallest U.S. coin in circulation and the .25 cent silver coin that bears George Washington's side profile.

Wilson, isn't just a statistical outlier, he's an NFL miracle. The Vatican policy on verifying miracles is lengthy so they should consider flying a few (non-Arizona) Cardinals out to Seattle to investigate your circumstances immediately.

"This is an extraordinary kid," Carroll said during a conference call Sunday night. "He just kept knocking us out with what he brought."

There's an unwritten rule in the NFL about effective quarterbacks. Akin to a lineman that weighs fewer than 300 pounds or an NBA point guard below 5-foot-10, passers shorter than six-feet are rarely invited to live the NFL experience.

The Washington Redskins were ecstatic after Robert Griffin III measured a few millimeters above 6-foot-2 but they were once the sanctuary franchise for pennybacks. Billy Kilmer (5-foot-11), Sonny Jurgensen (5-foot-11), and Eddie LeBaron (5-foot-7) all made Pro-Bowls wearing the burgundy and gold.

Flutie is the closest contemporary to Wilson, because of his scrambling ability but even Flutie failed to consistently complete over 55 percent of his passes.

Many scouts had ancillary concerns besides Wilson's height. There was chatter that his accuracy was more erratic when he threw from the pocket.

In three preseason games, Wilson has posted a 62 percent completion percentage while throwing from the pocket, when flushed out the pocket, rolling out on bootlegs and off his back foot.

Taking snaps under center, Wilson has gone 19 for 30 including three touchdowns and one pick. In the shotgun, Wilson completed 16 of his 22 passes for one touchdown.

If Wilson wins the starting job and has a successful career, he'll be to pennybacks what Jeremy Lin is to Asian-American basketball guards.

Selecting a starting quarterback doesn't hold the same cultural significance of electing a pope but given the secretive nature of NFL coaching staffs, it's understandable that Carroll was reserved in response to the masterpiece Wilson painted on the gridiron against Kansas City.

In his first three quarters of action against an NFL first-team defense Wilson led the Seahawks to six scores in seven drives. Wilson accounted for 243 total yards, 58 by ground and two touchdowns passing.

Doing it in the third preseason game was more impressive because it's the first contest where defensive coordinators flash a bit of the disguised blitz or coverage schemes that quarterbacks will have to read and react to in the regular season. Yet, Wilson actually improved from his first two showings.

His play has been absurdly impressive across the board. Wilson has completed 35 of 56 passes, for 464 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. In addition to earning the NFL's best preseason quarterback rating, Wilson also gained 150 yards rushing, good for fifth best in the league.

Wilson has completed 35 of 56 passes for 464 yards, five touchdowns, one interception, and he has the NFL's best preseason quarterback rating at 119.4.

Through two games Flynn went 17 for 26  for 106 yards, 0 touchdowns and one interception.

Flynn's elbow flare-up that kept him out of Friday night's dress rehearsal exhibition was a cosmic sign. On Sunday night Carroll released the white smoke, emerged from his coaching conclave within the bowels of CenturyLink Field and named Russell as his starting quarterback.

Wilson is known for his quick starts. In Wilson's freshman season at NC State, he became the starter after two games. Surrounded by a shallow pool of talent, Wilson threw for 17 touchdowns, one interception.

Unfortunately, after his junior season there was frustration surrounding his participation in minor league baseball that kept him away from the team for lengthy periods. It didn't help that  highly touted junior quarterback Mike Glennon was waiting in the wings. The 6-foot-6 Glennon threw for a modest 3,054 yards and 31 touchdowns to 12 interceptions last season.

The other negatives surrounded his ability to throw over NFL lineman.  After three years with a sub-60 completion percentage, Wilson transferred to Wisconsin and revived the badgers dormant passing offense. To quell those concerns Wilson threw 33 touchdowns to four interceptions and posted a 72 percent completion percentage en route to shattering the NCAA's single-season record for pass efficiency behind the largest offensive line in college football.

A barometer of a quarterback's ability to throw over the front line is passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

In addition, according to National Football Post: Only two of Wilson's incompletions in 309 passes last season were deflected. Kellen Moore had five out of 439 batted down and Andrew Luck had two passes slapped down at the line in 404 attempts. In 402 attempts, Griffin had nine, and Brandon Weeden had eight out of 564 attempts swatted.

Ryan Tannehill attempted 531 passes but had a whopping 19 attempts rejected at the line of scrimmage. In his first preseason start last Friday, Tannehill continued this trend by getting four passes swatted at the line of scrimmage.

Wilson probably would have passed for more touchdowns if the stingy Montee Ball had not stolen 33 of his own. If that wasn't enough to answer those questions, this preseason should have been.

Unlike fellow pennybacks such as Chase Daniel, Wilson took snaps from under center in college and not from five or seven-yard shotgun formations like Daniel operated in at Missouri.

Taking snaps under center should limited the vision of a shorter quarterback as he stands nearer to towering lineman and At 5-foot-10, Wilson would be the shortest starting quarterback in the NFL. Seneca Wallace is the second shortest NFL quarterback at 5-11. Drew Brees, who is the standard bearer of diminutive passers is the shortest NFL starter at 6-feet.

While Wilson's height was trumpeted as the primary reason for his plummet into the third round, his other attributes were downplayed.

Wilson's anticipation and ball location are outstanding. His hands, which are larger than Andrew Luck's, enable him to pump fake very effectively and his scrambling ability allows him to create time in the pocket. Those large hands will be especially useful in gripping the football during Seattle's soggy rain season between October and January.

Wilson's releases the ball courtesy of a quick, compact throwing motion and a Statue of Liberty-level launch point. Wilson looks off receivers and releases at the height of a 6-foot-2 quarterback.

In addition, Wilson has great velocity on his throws but he also appears to understand using touch, doesn't force passes, displayed great anticipation by throwing his receivers open and places balls in spots where only his receiver can catch it.

His 4.55 speed is more than enough to make him effective in play action as he freezes linebackers and lineman with fake handoffs in combination with his rollout.

Wilson is not a scrambler. Instead he picks and chooses when to tuck and run, can change direction mid-stride and averts the punishing hits that quarterbacks such as Vick and Robert Griffin III take.

Despite Russell Wilson's near perfect skillset and tools, Mel Kiper Jr. and Jon Gruden engaged in a gentlemanly disagreement over Wilson's worth during the second-day of the NFL Draft. Gruden took umbrage to Kiper's dismissal of Wilson because he lacked an extra inch or two.

Conversely, Football Outsiders' Lewin Career Forecast, which uses a complicated formula that factors in collegiate success without measuring physical attributes, gave Wilson it's highest score ever.

NFL analyst Greg Cosell, was effusive in his praise of Wilson after Friday's start in a guest appearance on Yahoo Sports' Shutdown Corner podcast.

"Overall what really stands out to me about Wilson which is essential if he's to be an NFL starter. He's very decisive with his reads and throws so he does not hold the ball very long." Cosell marveled. The concern, when you're 5-foot-10 and a half, is that the pass rush gets too close to you and then you can't see. He's been extremely decisive in the preseason, and that's all you can judge by."

"He has the ability just to drop back, hit his back foot and just throw it. He doesn't have to step up and hitch up into throws and that's critical because the shorter you are, if you start hitching up, all you are doing is moving yourself into the rush." Cosell added.

Last season's starter Tarvaris Jackson threw for threw for nearly 3100 yards with a 60.2% completion percentage and 79.2 QB rating. Don't be surprised if Wilson should produces a rookie season with better numbers minus the interceptions.

In Week 1, a record-five rookie quarterbacks will start.

Wilson appears to be the third-best quarterback in this stellar rookie class but he is in position to win the most games and in my opinion, will lead the Seahawks to the NFC West title.

Before Wilson accomplishes any of that however, he'll take his first tiny baby steps against the woeful Arizona Cardinals.