Russell Wilson keeps growing, aims for 'laser focus' in playoffs
When you hear Russell Wilson talk or when you watch the Seahawks quarterback on the field, it's easy to forget he's only 25 years old. But the fact of the matter is, he's only a second-year quarterback with room to improve.
"I want to keep growing," said Wilson. "That's the exciting part about being a quarterback in the National Football League; you never really know it all."
That's a scary thought for other teams around the NFL, figuring Wilson is already a budding superstar. Last year, he tied the rookie record for touchdown passes in a season with 26. He found even more success this season, becoming the winningest second-year starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era (with 24 regular season victories).
"Winning a lot of games is really important," Wilson said after breaking the record. "That's what we aim to do every day. Our goal is to win the day, have a championship day, have a championship offseason, have a championship year."
Wilson is young, but he's already earning the reputation of Mr. Consistency. Just look at his stats over the last two seasons. He completed 252 passes for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. This year, Wilson completed 257 passes for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns. His numbers are nearly identical from year to year.
"My No. 1 goal coming into the season was to be consistent," Wilson said. "That's kind of my approach to the game, to practice, and to just my every day. I think that's been a good thing so far."
Wilson has even found some postseason success in his short career. He guided the Seahawks to a first-round win last year in Washington, but slipped against the Falcons in the divisional playoffs. That loss was hardly Wilson's fault, though. He threw for career-high 385 yards, ran for 60 more, and accounted for 3 touchdowns against Atlanta.
"I think of him as a leading MVP candidate," said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. "If he's not up there with Peyton [Manning] and Tom Brady, then I don't know what you have to do to get there. Within our offense, he's done just about everything you can do to be an MVP candidate."
Stats only mean so much if you don't win in the playoffs. That's where Wilson hopes to change this postseason. Instead if being the underdogs like last year, the Seahawks are heavy favorites to win the NFC as the top-seed in the conference. Seattle's playoff quest begins this weekend at home against the Saints.
"My poise is continuing to show up," said Wilson when explaining how he's different from last year. "I just have a better understanding of situational football and putting our team in the right place at the right time. Just our team in general, we all believe in what we can do.
"Being in the moment all the time; that's my biggest goal for the playoffs. How tuned in can I be? How laser focused can I be all the time?"
We're about to learn the answer to those questions. Wilson and the Seahawks square off against the Saints in the divisional playoffs on Saturday. It's the first home playoff game of Wilson's career, but he's 15-1 all-time in Seattle.