When the Seattle Seahawks hired Brian Schottenheimer during the offseason a lot of observers, myself included, were highly critical of the hire and did not like the move. Brought in to hold quarterback Russell Wilson accountable and to challenge Wilson “more than ever”, his primary mission seemed to be to create pocket presence and awareness for Wilson consistent with prototypical quarterback play.
There is no doubt that Wilson has generated phenomenal production during his time in Seattle, but what was lacking was basic quarterback footwork and mechanics. A highly skilled athlete, Wilson has used his playmaking abilities to perform at a high level during his career, and while that recipe has led to unprecedented success for a Seahawks quarterback.
However, with Wilson set to turn 30 in late November, the organization faced a potential future in which age could begin to slow Wilson, leading to a decline in his playmaking skills. Thus, the Schottenheimer hire, and the desire to mold Wilson into a quarterback with footwork and pocket skills that don’t rely on his athleticism to create big plays for the offense.
The results so far?
It’s not perfect yet, but those who have been following my work over the past year are well aware of how critical I have been of Wilson and his pocket skills, know this is a night and day difference compared to prior seasons. Wilson did bail out of the pocket backwards on occasion against the Detroit Lion on Sunday, however, far more often he stepped up in the pocket when pressured and did what quarterbacks are supposed to do.
In any case, not even half way through the 2018 campaign and the transition from Carl Smith at quarterbacks coach to Brian Schottenheimer has already begun to pay dividends for the Seahawks, and the second half of the season should make for interesting watching.
Author: John P. Gilbert