Seahawks/Broncos: Second-Half Observations - The Rise of Russell Wilson

How are there no usable photos of this guy in a Seahawks uniform yet?

I've been so consumed with the ongoing Seahawks camp battles for long-snapper, second-string nickelback, etc that this little blurb slipped right under my radar. Now I know that Seattle's quarterback situation is not something that really interests you guys, and while it seems that literally no one has an opinion on it, I figured I'd go back and watch the second half of the last pre-season game just to see what this Russell Wilson character is all about. Those thoughts, and the rest of my observations can be found after the jump.

You can read my notes on the first half of this game here.

~Matt Prater starts the second half by putting the ball through the back of the endzone again. In related news, Matt Prater's biceps tattoos are just as bad as they were in the first half.

~One thing that is immediately evident on Wilson's first drive is the great job the offensive line does. Wherein the first half, the line struggled with pass-pro and did an okay job with establishing the run game, the first drive displays a much cleaner, more imposing front line. It's a theme that would continue for the entire remainder of the game, as Seattle took the time of possession clock and tucked it into their back pocket.

~When the line did provide a good push, and Robert Turbin got his legs pumping, he became a terror to bring down. He didn't make many guys miss, or break a ton of tackles, but there's something to be said when every tackler ended up on their back after impact. I'm excited to see what this guy can do with 10-15 touches per game.

~Wilson clearly moves differently than Flynn, but it's not as simple as stiff-white-pocket-passer vs athletic-black-scrambler. Flynn moves well within the pocket and can snag yards when given a gap, and Wilson, while certainly nimble, also shows signs of being a very polished passer for a rookie. What I mean when I say he moves differently is that there's a fluidity to his motion that lots of passers lack and it's something that's very pleasing to the eye.

~On the first drive, Wilson ends up scrambling three times. On none of those occasions did that appear to be the wrong move, as he acquired significant yardage every time. I'm definitely not against scrambling QBs on principle, but it will be interesting to see if his tuck-and-run is reserved for opportunistic situations or is merely his first reaction in a collapsing pocket.

~I'm hoping for the former.

~Seattle's first drive was an impressive 13 play, 80-yard march that featured a slick downfield seam pass from Wilson to Anthony McCoy, excellent sealing-off by the O-line on run plays, and the best block by a tight end you'll see all preseason by McCoy on a 16-yard touchdown run by "Fuzzy" Gregg Lumpkin.

~Here is that BLOCK, courtesy of Danny.

~I see that NFL broadcasts haven't scrapped the score, commercial break, kickoff, commercial break sequence yet. I hate that shit. And I swear that second commercial break is all Hyundai ads.

~On the first play of the second drive, Wilson comes under pressure again and again points his nose upfield, this time for seven yards. Another nice pick up, but I still want to see him step into pressure and deliver a throw.

~Russell Wilson ends up dropping back 22 times in the second half, and he ran the ball on five of those. He netted 33 yards on those carries, but 23% is an awful high scrambling percentage. I know that's a small sample size, but through two preseason games, Wilson is Seattle's leading rusher with 92 yards.

~I swear, it doesn't matter who is coaching the Seahawks; they love to run draw plays on 3rd and long.

~Greg Scruggs records a sack near the end of the 3rd quarter. I'd love to say it was the result of good penetration or an effective edge rush, but the credit for this one is split between the excellent job the secondary did in coverage and the glacial speed at which Broncos rookie QB Brock Osweiler went through his reads. The sack led to a second straight three-and-out by Denver, but this team really needs to develop a pass rush that will make opposing passers uncomfortable on the regular.

~Schematically speaking, this Seahawks defense, even the backups, do a hell of a job against the run. It's not just that there's a good push off the line, it's that there are never any gaps for the ballcarrier to run through. Either that or opposing backs are practicing being scared of Kam Chancellor and don't want to risk getting to the second level.

~Osweiler has now played nine snaps and has yet to achieve a first down.

~Early in the 4th quarter, Wilson makes a drool-worthy pass off his back foot to rookie TE Sean McGrath. Probably didn't need to be a back-foot pass, but it was so pretty. Like when Kobe Bryant shoots a fadeaway jumper when he's not even being guarded closely.

~On the next play, Wilson launches what could easily have been a 63-yard TD to Phil Bates, had Bates not gotten tangled up with the corner a bit making his break and likely costing the difference between the biggest play of the game and what it actually was, which was a two-foot overthrow about 40 yards downfield.

~I have no qualms with Wilson's throw on that one.

~Two plays later, Wilson completes a first-down pass while contorting his body like Neo dodging slow-motion Matrix bullets. What fun he is.

~The drive ends on a simple screen pass that Terrell Sutton turns into a 34-yard TD. Those numbers go on Wilson's ledger as well, but that score was all about the over-pursuit by Denver and one hell of a cut-move/tackle-slip combo by Sutton.

~The NFL Shop commercial with Jay Cutler is awesome. And I can't stand Jay Cutler.

~I like Seattle's linebackers, but I worry about their ability to cover backs and receivers in the passing game. This is an aspect that rookie second-round pick Bobby Wagner should help in immensely.

~Sutton didn't get a ton of opportunities (three rushes, one reception), but he turned those four touches into 82 yards. Is he this year's Tommy Guns?

~Wilson delivers a gorgeous throw on a skinny post to Jermaine Kearse for 37 yards. Equal credit goes to Kearse for keeping the defender on his back hip and extending his arms to make the catch away from his body. He's got a long ways to go to make the team, I think, but he's got a couple of nice plays in this one.

~With three and a half minutes left in the game, Wilson finds Cooper Helfey (who apparently is a person??) wide open in the endzone on a little corner route. Maybe Helfey is such a JAG that Denver didn't even account for him on defense.

~The Broncos announcers just said that Pete Carroll has made over 1,500 transactions since taking the job in 2010. I don't even want to research if that's true.

~Josh Portis takes over for Wilson and does nothing but hand the ball off and scramble once. Still, it should be enough for Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore to say that "maybe this is the guy the Seahawks need to be looking at as the starter."

The Seahawks wrap up a 30-10 victory over the Broncos. I'm pretty sure Denver didn't have the ball during the last 20 minutes of game time. All in all, the second half was a masterful exhibition of the identity Pete Carroll is trying to convey with his team. Steady ball control highlighted by a few big plays on offense, and assignment-correct, aggressive defense that leads to T.O.P. domination.

I can't wait to see what the 'Hawks and yes, especially Russell Wilson, look like tonight against the Chiefs.

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