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Fran Tarkenton, the original scrambling quarterback

The one quarterback that Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson is most commonly compared to is legendary Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton. Wilson and Tarkenton recently met, and the original scrambling quarterback of the '60s and '70s was honored that his name was coming up again in conjunction with the Seahawks' rookie - and put his vote in for Wilson as the obvious Rookie of the Year (though Wilson didn't win it).

It's an interesting subject, because Tarkenton, in some way, was a part of the current evolution in quarterbacking that asks that quarterbacks can throw on the move, escape pressure, and improvise after plays break down. As Clare Farnsworth illustrated in an article that highlighted their meeting, "When Tarkenton entered the league, running as a quarterback was 'frowned on,' as he put it. 'It was pocket, pocket, pocket. If you ran, it was scandalous. So I kind of broke the barrier.'"

Tarkenton then pointed out something that we've tried to hammer home here at Field Gulls, noting:

"The important this is, you've got to be able to throw the ball at an NFL level first. That's what Russell can do. He's a thrower first. Then if you've got mobility to extend the play, to give your receivers more time to get position or to pick up a first down, that's good."

Also, as we've said, it's not about the height of your offensive line. It's about passing lanes, and the ability of the line to create them combined with the ability of the quarterback to utilize them. Tarkenton said:

"We've had a prejudice against anybody who's not 6-4. I was 6 feet, played at that height and it didn't bother me. Russell looks as tall as I am. You find yourself places to throw in between. Nobody throws over a defensive lineman. A defensive lineman is 6-5 and then he's got his arms up. How do you throw over a 7-footer? You don't. You've got to find the alleys to throw in, and Russell instinctively does that. You cannot coach that. You have it, or you don't. And he has it."